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By Cliff Heseltine

When debating with people who oppose Second Amendment freedoms, no matter what they say or what red herring they introduce, the responses should be as follows:

  1. Can you define the English term “well regulated” as it was used and understood in the 18th century?
  2. Can you define the English term, “the people” as it was used and understood in the 18th century?
  3. Can you define the English term, “bear arms” as it was used and understood in the 18th century?
  4. Can you definite the English word “infringed?”

All arguments in favor of gun control or against the Second Amendment are essentially moot, since the amendment itself indicates that the government is in fact prohibited from infringing on this natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right. That being the case . . .

the government has no authority to alter, modify, amend or repeal the right to keep and bear arms by legislative action, executive order, or judicial review. End of discussion.

Talk all night if you must, the fact remains that the only legal recourse for those who oppose the RKBA is to use Article V of the Constitution to amend the Constitution itself. Meanwhile, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has proposed that the Second Amendment be amended as follows:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.

It’s a shame Justice Stevens doesn’t know his history. During the debates leading up to the adoption of the Second Amendment, similarly intended wording was suggested. On September 9, 1789, it was proposed that “for the common defense (sic)” be inserted following “bear arms”, but that modification was defeated. Instead, the Senate passed: “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.”

Then there’s this: the Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791. And in the 222 years since there have been only 17 additional amendments, not one of which alters any of the original ten, much less repeals them. Realistically, since these are natural rights, even a successful effort to repeal their Constitutional protection wouldn’t repeal or revoke the right itself, only its Constitutional protection.

Here are the Amendments that followed the Bill of Rights:

11. Suits against states
12. Election of the President
13. Abolishment of Slavery
14. Due Process, Equal Protection
15. Voting Rights
16. Income Tax
17. Direct Election of Senators
18. Prohibition of Alcohol
20. Women’s Voting Rights
20. Terms of Office
21. Repeal of Prohibition
22. Term Limits
23. Appointment of Electors
24. Abolishment of Poll Tax
25. Succession to Office
26. Voting Age
27. Compensation of Legislators

So in all these years there have been only 27 amendments to the Constitution and of those only one — the 18th Amendment  prohibiting the production of alco — has been subsequently repealed. By coincidence this is the only amendment ever ratified with the intention of the federal government telling the American people something they were prohibited from doing. (The 13th Amendment abolishing slavery can hardly be viewed in the same light as a prohibition against alcohol.)

Considering that the intention of the Constitution itself was for the people to tell the federal government what it was authorized to do (Article I, Section 8), and in the Bill of Rights to tell the federal government what it was NOT authorized to do, the existence of the 18th Amendment was in itself anachronistic. It’s no wonder that this is the one amendment that it was later repealed.

So all of the amendments — other than the 18th and 21st (prohibition and repeal) — were alterations, adjustments, or additions to the establishment and operating instructions granted by the people to the federal government. Therefore, any attempt to modify or repeal any of the Bill of Rights must be considered as a major precedent in Constitutional modification. While Article V gives instructions on the amendment process and doesn’t limit what may be amended, it does set a high bar for ratification (two-thirds of congress and three-fourths of the states).

While it seems highly unlikely that any attempt to modify or repeal the Second Amendment could meet this high standard, it must be understood that even the attempt to change one of the rights guaranteed and protected by the Constitution would be an admission that all of those enumerated rights were subject to modification at the whim of the majority, a dangerous precedent indeed. So perhaps a new amendment really does need to be proposed:

An enumeration of certain inalienable natural rights being necessary to the continued liberty of a free people, no branch of government nor any government agency may modify, restrict, tax or attempt to repeal any of the first ten amendments to this Constitution.

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  1. How can one expect this to be a rational argument against those who eschew rationality and the foundational principle of this nation, LIBERTY?

    How do you expect to convince those who see Liberty as, “icky”?

    • “How do you expect to convince those who see Liberty as, ‘icky’?”

      Bill, I’m pretty sure you can’t.

        • Here is the quote you’re looking for.

          “Some men just need killin’.” — James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok

          He was right. Some people are just so evil, that they need to be killed to protect the rest of society from them.

    • I realize this comment is not far removed from jumping into a pit full of rabid dogs while wearing a meat suit, but someday, someone will bring reason to this circle jerk. The concept of weapons ownership was a well established Natural Right under the English Common Law the Second Amendment codified that, yes, but that Natural Right was never unrestricted, hence the reference to regulation (hint, hint “well regulated”). Could you own a musket in 1791? Of course, and you did not need to be part of the militia to do so. Could you own Field Artillery? Grapeshot? Enough cavalry sabres to fit out a brigade? Fit out a privateer to raid British commerce? That was all regulated and subordinated to the rules that applied to state militia, and those rules, by the way, are subject to Federal oversight under everything from the Commerce Clause to Equal Protection, so regulation of state militia is not limited to state law. But of course, you guys don’t want to hear any of that and will denounce it as shameless restriction on natural freedom based on semi literate claptrap that the ignorant fact ignoring bozo that wrote this article shared with the (well armed) sheep like you that are so secure in their ignorance that they like to talk about shooting those folks that disagree because they are…evil I guess. The Natural Right of gun ownership that arose in England carried over to all English speaking countries. How many of them have carried it to the extreme you guys profess? None other than the US…everyone else thinks we are a load of lunatics. And the sad truth is that while you think you are the holders of some holy true flame, children and innocent people are dying every day because of lunatics like you. You want to pretend the language about “well regulated militia” can be ignored and argue that the right to bear arms is unassailable. If it was unassailable you could go out and buy an M1 tank or a full military grade M16. You can’t, and you could not have done so had they existed in 1776 or 1791. It is exactly the same reason you should not be able to own an AR 15 with a bump stock. Clowns.

      • You must be crying a river now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of 2nd amendment rights. FJB FNYC commies.

  2. I’m not going to lie, even if by some chance the 2nd A was rewritten or repealed, I would not stand down.

    • Indeed, I think an out-and-out repeal of the second amendment would illicit the same reaction from a significant percentage of the population, if CT is any indicator. It really could be the spark to light the fires of revolution.

    • Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, the “liberal” political left is not attempting to repeal the second amendment out right, at least in our immediate future. Their effectively creating a culture war, where they minimize and demonize, gun ownership and it use as a means of self defense and reliance. Little by little, through the influence and coercion of public educators, members of main stream media, and entertainment, are trying to “enlighten” our children and future generations to what they consider the barbaric racist fallacies of gun ownership. They are grooming our children to accept their truths. We’re Neanderthals, their the intellectuals. Are you and idiot or are do accept “common sense?” They’re in it for the long haul, I’m just wondering if we are too.

        • I believe it does matter. I don’t think they will ever be able to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Minimization is their only hope.

  3. I believe it was the late great Samuel Adams that said,”the reason for an amendment to the Constitution to be the same as an amendment in the Bill of Rights is so that if Congress should attempt to repeal one,the fact the other exists,nulls the repeal process.”( Or something to that effect).Basically stating that Congress CAN’T repeal amendments1-10

    • I’m not sure I follow you. The first 10 amendments is the bill of rights. There isn’t a separate document that is identical to the first ten amendments. They’re one and the same.

  4. Wasn’t there a thing about no Congress ever limiting the power of a future Congress?

    Just so you know, I’m all for your proposed 28th Amendment.

    • Thomas Jefferson said that no Congress of men could enact legislation that could prevent any subsequent Congress from amending or repealing that legislation. I absolutely agree with this point, however, the Bill of Rights enshrines those natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights belonging to all people and as such are not legislation created by a Congress of men, but an acknowledgement by such a Congress that the rights exist in and of themselves and are not the province of government to modify or restrict.

      Unless the Congress and the current regime think that they can pass legislation than will revoke natural law. I wouldn’t put that past them.

    • That’s the difference between laws and constitution. Any law passed by one Congress can be amended, repealed, enhanced, or in any other way modified later, whether the next day or in the next session, by a simple vote.

      Changing the constitution requires much more effort which no mere congress is capable of.

      • The bar for creation and passage of any amendment to the Constitution by Congress was set intentionally high, IMO, and the bar for amendment via the states is even higher. A Constitutional Convention for the purpose of amending all or part of the Constitution is a serious endeavor.

        • Cliff, I have a hard time believing that a modern convention effort could ever come prior to protracted and bloody revolution and then as only a way to demarcate a treaty suing for peace between factions. I hope and pray that day does not arrive with every fiber of my being. However, like Belshazzar, I see: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

  5. The very fact that anyone would propose a significant rewording of the Second Amendment is proof that they concede that that the present wording DOES acknowledge the RKBA.

  6. The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.
    The following are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, and bracket in time the writing of the 2nd amendment:

    1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations.”

    1714: “The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world.”

    1812: “The equation of time … is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial.”

    1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor.”

    1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.”

    1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city.”

    • And then suddenly, in the first decades of the 20th century, during the birth of Modern Liberalism, the phrase suddenly changes to mean controlled by the government.

        • I’m not one for conspiracy, but considering that many progressives choose to work generationally, I do wonder if it was a concerted effort to mak that association.

      • More precisely, it is defined as “subject to regulation.” [I’ve in fact had this very discussion with a friend of mine.] Therefore, the exercise of second amendment rights is “subject to (reasonable) regulation.” As Alan Dershowitz would say, “It’s just common sense!”

        The thing I don’t understand about Dershowitz is that he seems to be such a staunch defender of the rights of criinal defendants as expressed in other amendments, but so against the exercise of the second amendment right o keep and most especially bear arms. And he’s Jewish, a member of AIPAC (I believe) and a strident defender of Israel. He must know the cost in lives of gun control laws, registration, and gun bans.

        • It sounds like he is not so concerned with people’s rights, so much as he is for sticking up for underdogs and the downtrodden. Its too bad that he doesn’t realize his hypocrisy.

      • Isn’t that about the same time the word “liberal” was hijacked? Previously, it had referred to liberalism, in the sense of individual liberties, personal freedom and responsibility, and government guaranty of them.

        Then it got slapped on as a label for so-called progressives who wanted to use the government as a means for social improvement. Of course, that’s social improvement in their own eyes, which entails an ever growing government consistently in conflict with individual liberties.

        Now we have to call the original liberals “classical liberals” to draw the miles wide difference.

    • I haven’t looked into it, but I suspect every State Constitution has something to say on the matter. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that, given the Federal Gov’t only exists because of the States, that the meaning of the 2A is really based upon the sum of the States’? Just pondering out loud, here.

      • In that the Constitution is the people, through their representatives at the Congress, creating a government, and further creating and ratifying the Bill of Rights, yes, this is a reflection of the states and the people.

        In theory each state that joined the Union agreed to abide by that Constitution in turn, whether or not their own State constitution contained language similar to the Second Amendment, and their are several that do not. California comes to mind, the others I an not sure of.

        It is unfortunate that for whatever reason the Second Amendment was not recognized on the same level as the others in the Bill of Rights as something each and every State had to consider as natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights until it was finally incorporated by SCOTUS in the McDonald decision. In the interim State government mistakenly believed that they had carte blanche to trample the “…shall not be infringed.” amendment and now we are left fighting to get this legislation, AND the concept that made it possible, overturned.

      • “…the meaning of the 2A is really based upon the sum of the States?”

        And to address this particular point, the meaning of the Second Amendment is that it is: “…a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil…right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.” and as such its entire meaning is that it was included by “the sum of the States” as a right deserving of specific Constitutionally protection.

        While those States did debate the specific wording they wanted in the amendment, the right itself was never the question, only how best to protect it from government infringement.

  7. All arguments in favor of gun control or against the Second Amendment are essentiall̶̶y̶ ̶m̶̶o̶̶o̶̶t̶, since the amendment itself indicates that the government is in fact ̶p̶̶r̶̶o̶̶h̶̶i̶̶b̶̶i̶̶t̶̶e̶̶d̶ ̶f̶̶r̶̶o̶̶m̶ infringing on this natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right. That being the case . . .

    the government has no authority to alter, modify, amend or repeal the right to keep and bear arms by legislative action, executive order, or judicial review. ̶E̶̶n̶̶d̶ ̶o̶̶f̶ ̶d̶̶i̶̶s̶̶c̶̶u̶̶s̶̶s̶̶i̶̶o̶̶n̶̶.̶ So of course, they do it anyway.

    Fixed it for you.

  8. While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and repeal 16,17, and 19.

    (btw, 19 is also labeled as 20)

    • There’s absolutely no reason to keep women from voting. Raise the minimum age to 25, and restrict voting to land owners, or restrict voting rights if receiving public assistance.

      • That one was supposed to be a joke. I favor ending suffrage for all people who aren’t me. i will mostly use my power to pad my own arsenal and drive irresponsibly fast. Also, full NFA repeal.

      • I actually know many women who favor repealing the 19th amendment on the grounds that women are more prone to making decisions based on emotions instead of facts. It is an interesting correlation that right around the time women started voting, the US went on the path of socialism.

  9. We’re serving in a militia now Stevens & we’re regulating it very well, I’ll bet thats a load off your mind.

    • Bingo. The Militia Act of 1903: “…the militia shall consist of every able-bodied male citizen of the respective States, Territories, and the District of Columbia, and every able-bodied male of foreign birth who has declared his intention to become a citizen, who is more than eighteen and less than forty-five years of age, and shall be divided into two classes-the organized militia, to be known as the National Guard of the State, Territory, or District of Columbia, or by such other designations as may be given them by the laws of the respective States or Territories, and the remainder to be known as the Reserve Militia.”

      Lest you ladies feel left out, the Virginia Code § 44-1 reads: “The militia of the Commonwealth of Virginia shall consist of all able-bodied citizens of this Commonwealth and all other able-bodied persons resident in this Commonwealth who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, who are at least sixteen years of age and, except as hereinafter provided, not more than fifty-five years of age. The militia shall be divided into four classes, the National Guard, which includes the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, the Virginia State Defense Force, the naval militia, and the unorganized militia.”

  10. The globalists are going to de their very best to sabotage the 2A in any Constitutional Convention. While the average “conscious” citizen will be looking to reinforce individual rights, the evil empire will only be looking for Pandora’s Box to open up and then steal it.

    Think not? Why did Ron Paul state that, during every election, people keep voting for change yet the agenda always stays the same?

  11. There is no need to even touch the 2A. If CT goes the way they want, it will be coming to a state near you very soon.

  12. If you are part of a well regulated militia today, you are watched by the .gov and put on their special “we don’t like you” list. Additionally they will try to infiltrate agents into your group and attempt to get you to conduct “domestic terrorist” attacks. When you don’t fall for that they will sneak into your house at night and cut your shotgun barrels to 17.9 inches and your rifles down to 15.9 inches and call the ATF. (Yeah it’s a joke, kind of.)

  13. It would be great if the 28th amendment–the very same one written here, became an idea spread across the nation and we could show support for it in some way. I would. I would vote for it. Who does not agree with this?

    • Thank you for that. I am certainly open to discussion as to precise wording, but I think the idea itself is long overdue.

  14. The Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms pre-exists the Constitution, and will continue to exist, should it be repealed. The amendment can be repealed, the Right cannot.

  15. Wikipedia: [Alan] Dershowitz is strongly opposed to firearms ownership and the Second Amendment, and supports repealing the amendment, but he vigorously opposes using the judicial system to read it out of the Constitution because it would open the way for further revisions to the Bill of Rights and Constitution by the courts. “Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it’s not an individual right or that it’s too much of a public safety hazard don’t see the danger in the big picture. They’re courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don’t like.”

    The only legitimate means of negating the text of the Constitution and it’s amendments is a constitutional amendment. Dershowitz is wrong in denying our right to keep and bear arms, but he’s right that circumventing the legitimate constitutional process to destroy it’s protection of our rights through judicial means will set the precedent that none of the rights protected by constitution are absolutely rights of individuals.

    • So he hates the 2ndA, but doesn’t want to do anything about it because that would mean we could repeal the rest of the Bill of Rights? He may be a douche nozzle, but he’s right in that one regard.

  16. All arguments in favor of gun control or against the Second Amendment are essentially moot, since the amendment itself indicates that the government is in fact prohibited from infringing on this natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right.

    Not only is the government prohibited from infringing the right, they are specifically required to protect the right from infringement by anyone, including the individual states. That’s what “We the People” told the government 220+ years ago.

  17. During the debate on the Bill of Rights, George Mason was asked, “What sir, constitutes the Militia?” His answer was “The People, sir are the Militia”. I think that answers the question of the RKBA.

    • “During the debate on the Bill of Rights, George Mason was asked, “What sir, constitutes the Militia?” His answer was “The People, sir are the Militia”. I think that answers the question of the RKBA.”

      The problem is that Mason was an Antifederalist and got totally run over by the Nationalists (who called themselves Federalists) which included Washington, Madison, Hamilton, Jay, and other nation-state worshippers who clearly believed the citizenry existed to serve the government and not the other way around.

      I like Mason a lot but he got crushed by Madison and the other nationalists in the debate over the Bill of Rights. Keep in mind that the 12 proposed amendments that were sent to the states for ratification were not written by Mason and the Antifederalists. They were written by Madison, who was the chief architect of the Constitution and one of the contributors to the Federalist Papers.

      • Citation required. Please list your sources, sir.

        Not arguing the points specifically, but I would like the opportunity to substantiate them as more than your personal opinion.

  18. Ok all you learned lawyers and pontificators, seriously, how would the last paragraph of the above piece which is another amendment stand up today for consideration, I would really like to hear your opinion.

    • It would face serious difficulties even getting to the ratification stage, but it would certainly be an interesting and enlightening debate.

      Many frightened politicians (not statesmen) would wet their pants over having to take a firm and defined public stand on how they felt about the Bill of Rights.

    • I understand the idea behind it but I basically think it’s a pointless exercise.

      For one thing, that amendment itself could later be repealed.

      For another thing, they’re already ignoring much of what is contained in the first ten amendments. We clearly have infringements on free speech (campaign finance laws, obscenity laws). We have numerous infringements on the RKBA. We have warrantless searches deemed legal by courts, and “DUI checkpoints” that are essentially unconstitutional seizures. We have seen governments wreck the concept of a jury trial by allowing so many people to be weeded out of the process and by forbidding the concept of jury nullification to be introduced at a trial. We clearly have not seen “the powers not delegated to the United States … reserved to the states … or to the people.”

      So how much actual effect it would have is questionable. I doubt it would get much, if any, serious consideration by anyone.

  19. So what happens if the white house says , do to the emergency that we have , we will put all the Bill of Rights on hold and follow my E.O. , we will return once the emergency is over… History says this works , It did for Hitler in Germany . (lies are used to do anything they want). How about what is going on now with Russia (only Russia and China are stopping the NEW WORLD ORDER), and a EMP attack would kill in the end about 80% of Americans, just as Bill Gates and Ted Turner want to get the NEW WORLD ORDER. We are only 1 lie away from SLAVERY .. WAKE UP AMERICA…………..

    • Short of declaring coast to coast martial law in the name of some purported national emergency, and perhaps even then, the natural and civil rights outlined in the Bill of Rights cannot be rescinded, even temporarily. To attempt to do so would violate the very concept of the United States as a Constitutional Republic.

      Natural rights may be denied, given sufficient government tyranny, but they cannot be revoked or put on hold.

    • Their are mechanisms in place to accomplish the act, as worthless as the effort might prove to be, but the bottom line is that it can’t and you don’t. You are correct.

      I do wish that you would actually read the piece, however, the Headline is a little misleading.

      • I did read the piece. I was just saying for those who thought it was too long and didn’t read it, that the long and short of it was that you didn’t as only 1 amendment to the constitution had been repealed and that was by the act of another amendment, namely prohibition.

        • From the article:

          “So in all these years there have been only 27 amendments to the Constitution and of those only one — the 18th Amendment prohibiting the production of alcohol — has been subsequently repealed. By coincidence this is the only amendment ever ratified with the intention of the federal government telling the American people something they were prohibited from doing.”

          Pretty sure that covered it.

  20. The Second Amendment is irrelevant. I don’t spend any time trying to discern what some dead rich guys who were concerned about tax revolts, slave rebellions, and Indian uprisings 230 years ago thought about my individual RKBA.

    Armed self-defense is the natural right of all people. You don’t need an affirmative interpretation of the Second Amendment to embrace that belief.

  21. Another component phrase that should be defined is “free State”. Lots of countries have a military, yet do not exist as a free state. What sort of militia then is necessary for the existence of a free State?

    Certainly not one as proposed by Stevens.

  22. Ok, lets get something straight here… the “Subject of the Sentence” is what???? The subject of the 2nd Amendment is: “THE SECURITY OF A FREE STATE”. “FREE STATE” means that the people of the state are FREE!!! The only way to keep the State FREE is to prohibit the government (or any other aristocratic group of misfits) from taking away the ability of a FREE people to defend and protect that FREEDOM.

    It is not about a militia because the 2nd Amendment is so that we can rise up and defeat any militia or army that would challenge our FREE State Status…. in other words, WE THE PEOPLE ARE THE MILITIA.

    Therefore, I agree, only the Militia of the Free State (i.e. WE THE PEOPLE) Should be allowed to have arms to defend that Freedom. We should disarm the Government and only let the People of the Free State carry arms. ATF would therefore be a violation of the 2nd Amendment as they are the epitome of why the 2nd Amendment was ratified.

  23. I think as far as fundamentally altering the meaning of the constitution, amendment 16 kind of got short shrift. That’s the one that turned the government into The Blob. Without that, it probably wouldn’t be anywhere near the insatiable behemoth it’s become. That’s another thing I’m going to do when I’m elected – rescind the income tax, or at least phase it out. When I’ve slashed the size of the Gov’t back to actual constitutional levels, there won’t even be a need for federal taxes!
    Write me in in 2016: .
    I’ll fire the whole damn government!

    • The majority of people tend to agree that some government is necessary, lest we devolve into pure anarchy. The point of the exercise in creating a Constitutional Republic was to attempt to put constraints on the size and power of that government which was agreed to be necessary.

      This is not the time or place to re-argue the rationale, however, the amendment granting the federal government essentially unlimited power to tax the income of the citizens was a factor in the exceeding power of that government and the desire of the politicians to grab as much of that largess for themselves and their bought and paid for constituents as possible. And income tax aside, it has now given them the power to spend the country into oblivion by enacting programs that will tax your grandchildren as well.

      In addition, one of the basic planks in the Communist Manifesto was the institution of a graduated income tax, progressively (no pun) punishing those who dared to become successful for the benefit of those who did little or nothing. THIS is the point that needs to be addressed, along with the issue of enacting entitlements and expenditures above and beyond the ability to collect revenues to pay for them.

      Any reduction in the income tax without addressing the programs these taxes are earmarked for simply results in transferring the tax to some other entity. In the end, through price inflation, the individual pays the tax anyway, the tax is just hidden from him through several layers of commerce and bureaucracy.

      The only reasonable and long-term solution is a restriction on how much money the government can spend and a strict regulation of what they can spend money on, followed by a reasonable flat tax on all income. Other more equitable systems are commonly discussed by reputable economists. Progressive taxation is punative and has no place in a free market economy or a free country.

    • Rich –

      It was actually the Union victory in the Civil War that led to the exponential growth of the national government. Prior to the Civil War the states, both North and South, routinely resisted actions of the national government that exceeded Constitutional authority.

      Lincoln’s war, which killed, wounded, and dispossessed more Americans than the rest of America’s wars combined, destroyed the concept of federalism on which the Constitution was based. Because of Lincoln and the nationalist victory in the Civil War, power was consolidated in Washington and has only grown since.

      The Sixteenth Amendment is a travesty, no doubt. But, without the Union’s victory in the Civil War, the Sixteenth Amendment and all of the other abuses of Constitutional authority that have resulted would have been impossible.

      • I fully believe that The War Between the States was an unconstitutional over-step by Lincoln and the Congress and that it did in fact lead to the federal excesses we are struggling with today. It most certainly shifted the balance of power from the States and the people who created the federal government to the federal government dominating through force of arms all of the States.

        There is NOTHING I have found anywhere in The Constitution of the United States of America that indicates or even implies that once joined to the Union a States has no right or ability to secede from that union. To consider this true would be to agree with the very concept of slavery the North was theoretically fighting against.

        As did MOST of the Founding Fathers, I find the idea of slavery reprehensible, and if the Civil War had been fought only as a war to liberate those poor unfortunate slaves it might have had some merit, but to claim it was “To preserve the Union” is pure political disingenuousness (Bald-faced lies).

        Our other Founding Document, The Declaration of Independence, which unfortunately does not for some reason have the “force of law,” indicates in no uncertain terms that the Confederacy, whether right or wrong about slavery, had just as much right to secede as they had to decline to sign both the Declaration and the Constitution in the first place:

        “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….”

  24. How to repeal the 2nd Amendment?


    Just have enough justices on the Supreme Court vote to reinterpret it AND then have enough governors, states’ AG’s, and Sheriffs in support of the new view.

    I think my Power Ball numbers will hit first….

    Then again, if #2 comes first….#1 won’t be an issue for me.

  25. I interpret the phrasing “a free State” as a kind of double entendre because it refers both to the naturally free State of The People and to the Polity which The People established by “Consenting” to the framework of Government Codified in the Constitution.

    The use of the phrasing ..”.the right of the people to keep and bear arms” is an absolute reference to a right that existed prior to and independent of the Constitution. The right could not be granted or conferred because it existed whether the Constitution ever existed or not.

    Although The Declaration of Independence is not The Law of the Land, as is the Constitution, it is important to remember the Founders saw it as the philosophical statement of their beliefs. For that reason the first draft of the Constitution did not enumerate or mention the rights of The People because it was thought unnecessary being that the rights of The People were thought to be inalienable and “self-evident” as stated in The Declaration of Independence. Fortunately, not everyone involved in ratifying the new Constitution was so trusting and the First Ten Amendments, a.k.a. Bill of Rights, was added to both enumerate and guarantee the rights of The People.

    The Supreme Court of the United States has long been remiss in its duties by refusing to rule definitively on The Second Amendment and its meaning.

    The archaic meaning of “shall not be infringed” originates with the Latin infringere, to break, and by 1760, recorded as, to encroach.

  26. “Realistically, since these are natural rights, even a successful effort to repeal their Constitutional protection wouldn’t repeal or revoke the right itself, only its Constitutional protection.”

    this. x10000

  27. The 14th amendment altered the bill of rights, via incorporation (at least it has been used to incorporate the bill of rights)

    FWIW, the 27th amendment was part of the proposed bill of rights, but was ratified only in 1992.

    • The 14th Amendment did not alter the Bill of Rights in any specific way, it only clarified that since these were natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights of the people they must be observed and respected as such not only by the federal government, but by government at all levels of society. No single word of the first ten amendments was altered by the 14th amendment and the “incorporation” implied did not take place automatically but piecemeal, the last piece being the very recent McDonald decision.

      The 27th Amendment: “No law, varying the compensation for the services of Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” is directly related to the function of the Congress and as such has absolutely no bearing as a natural right and so holds no logical place within the Bill of Rights.

      And on reading it through I wonder how long before the lawyers in Congress figure out that if they pass a pay raise for the Senate one year and for the House of Representatives the next year they have handily defeated the “Senators AND Representatives” clause and can alternate increasing each other’s pay year after year.

      • They’ve already built in automatic pay raises. It was a piece of legislation altering their compensation, and it took effect after the next election. Now they never have to vote on a pay raise again.

  28. Can you define the English word “Freedom”?

    Can you define the English word “Liberty”?

    Can you define the Layman’s terms “Come and get them”?

  29. Repealing or altering any amendment to The Constitution is as easy as altering anything in the main body. There’s a reason for that.

    There’s a presumption among the Left that interpreting the constitution is an ambiguous, immutable pursuit, akin to interpreting the Old Testament. The difference, we know exactly who the authors of the Constitution were, and we know what they intended their words to mean, because they left letters. Both sides pick and choose here, and they shouldn’t. It’s not arguable that the second amendment was included as a direct, militant defense from tyranny.

    To look at it from the other direction, anyway, those in favor of gun control love to cite car control. As has been mentioned here too many times, the point is moot, automobiles aren’t mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Let’s pretend, for a moment, cars are on par with firearms, though.

    I grew up with guns. I own well over the average number, and the collection is growing. I’ve never seen someone get shot (though I’m originally from a bad neighborhood, and I’ve seen a lot of people who were shot). Even with a half decade of military service, I’ve never personally known anyone who was ever shot with anything stronger than a paintball or .177 caliber steel sphere. And one guy who shot himself with a crossbow, but that shouldn’t count.

    I have, on the other hand, personally watched three children die at the hands of an elderly woman behind the wheel. She was a resident of a retirement community, so, self-admitted incapable of caring for herself. Yet no one was legally allowed to question her driving ability. Due to political correctness and connections, this woman is still driving (if she’s still alive).

    Let’s change the scenario. Let’s say the perpetrator was 24, not 94. And let’s say it was a dumb mistake with a 9mm, instead of a Buick. And lets say the victim was another adult, not three unbelievably innocent children. Hell, the hypothetical unlucky victim even survives. What happens to the shooter (assuming he/she wasn’t an off duty cop)?

    First of all, confiscation of the firearm, probably not that far off from the value of a ’99 Buick Century. Then, loss of firearms rights. Maybe temporarily, but still more restriction than the rental car furnished by the state while the investigation was ongoing. Then possibly charges, where even an acquittal can be used as restrictively as a conviction.

    Let’s be fair, the Founding Fathers and their contemporaries were interested in trying to figure out a way to sling as much lead down range in as short a time as possible, with as few shooters as possible. They not only envisioned the modern machine gun, they probably daydreamed of it frequently. If you gave George Washington or Ben Franklin an M-4 (or AK, these aren’t the sides I’m trying to pick), they’d probably marvel over the design and praise the documents they signed for allowing every free citizen in the nation to own one if they have the means. They would definitely be far more horrified by the concept of individuals in iron boxes who routinely pass each other, with mere inches of clearance, at well over one hundred miles per hour relative velocity.

    • “Repealing or altering any amendment to The Constitution is as easy as altering anything in the main body.”

      As stated, there is a process for amending the Constitution, but it is NOT an easy process, by design. In 222 years that process has been used only once to repeal another amendment, the ill-advised 18th Prohibition.

      And as others have stated above, even were the process of amending the Constitution successful in repealing or altering any of the Bill of Rights, which is doubtful, the rights would still remain, only the supposed Constitutional acknowledgment and protection of the rights would have been repealed.

      And I contend that any such action would be such a significant breach of faith between the government and the citizens that it would amount to a refutation of the entire document equivalent to a coup d’état, following which the United States of America as a nation and an institution would cease to exist.

  30. Well written, I’m keeping this in an file.

    Here’s the thing though: No one will repeal the 2A. What will happen instead is that draconian gun laws (Henry rifles must be modified in NYC because they hold more than 5 rounds) will be enacted by lawmakers the Sheople vote in.

    • Yes, but…so long as the Second Amendment remains in the Constitution we have a legal basis for appeal and repeal of those laws, whether or not we are successful in every case.

      Should be some stretch of legal manipulation the political class succeed in repealing ANY of the Bill of Rights (more than they have perverted them to date, as eloquently noted in a comment above), the Social Contract codified by the Constitution will be essentially null and void, but we will STILL have the moral high ground in that the right exists outside of any inclusion into a man-created document.

  31. 1. Here is how the term “a well regulated Militia” was used and understood in the Eighteenth Century. “A well regulated Militia” refers to the Organized State Militia that is today known as the National Guard and not to individuals who are proficient in the use of weapons or to the entire population. The National Guard is the same entity as the Organized State Militia of 1789 with a modern name. Only in the colloquial sense does “Militia” have multiple meanings based on context. In the legal and statutory sense, the “Militia”, which was originally codified in 1792 and has been modified by subsequent statutes that have been adopted in place of the original one, is defined by the United States Code.

    In the Eighteenth Century, “A well regulated Militia” was repeatedly used in The Federalist Papers (Number 29), the Anti-Federalist Papers (“John DeWitt V” and “Aristides”), and Luther Martin’s “Genuine Information” to refer to the Constitution’s Article I Militia. And although the National Guard was not codified until 1903, it is the statutory definition of the Organized State Militia, an entity that is older than even the Second Amendment itself. In accordance with Congress’s Article I power to organize the Militia, 10 U.S.C. 101 and 32 U.S.C. 101 explicitly state that the National Guard is the Article I Militia. Therefore, using the mathematical principle that if A equals B and C equals B, then A equals C, if “A well regulated Militia” equals the Article I Militia and the National Guard equals the Article I Militia, then “A well regulated Militia” must equal the National Guard.

    Although individual-right proponents point to 10 U.S.C. 311, which defines the Militia as “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”, any connection made between such definition of the Militia and a supposed Second Amendment individual right to possess and carry weapons makes for a very limited right, indeed. Such definition describes a minority of the population, excluding all females except those who serve in the National Guard, all of those who have turned 45 years old, and those who become handicapped to the point at which they are no longer classified as “able-bodied”. No other right is limited to such a minority of the population, expires upon turning 45, or is forfeited upon becoming handicapped.

    Since 1916, the National Guard has been part of the Army only when it is in federal service. When it is not in federal service, it is the Organized State Militia under the auspices of the state. This point was affirmed in both Dukakis v. United States Department of Defense (1988-1989), which was denied a hearing by the Supreme Court, and Perpich v. Department of Defense (1987-1990), which was heard and affirmed by the Supreme Court in a case that it actually got right.

    • There are frequent references to the Organized Milita, as well as the Unorganized Milita. The National Guard or any analog is clearly not the Unorganized Militia, and as such the populace itself constitutes that body, giving them the right to keep and bear arms.

      There is also no logical reason to restrict non able-bodied males of certain age from owning weapons, if the implication is for the common defense; we know that women are as physically capable with a firearm as men and that age does not necessarily make one infirm. There must also be teachers, those with many years of knowledge, and those being taught, the young.

      I happen to like the comparison of voting rights and education. Should there be a phrase that read: “A well-educated electorate being necessary to an efficient State, the right of the people to keep and read literature, shall not be infringed”, no one would argue that only active adult members of the electorate who have been duly interviewed and licensed should be allowed to own, carry, or use books.

      • “I happen to like the comparison of voting rights and education. Should there be a phrase that read: “A well-educated electorate being necessary to an efficient State, the right of the people to keep and read literature, shall not be infringed”, no one would argue that only active adult members of the electorate who have been duly interviewed and licensed should be allowed to own, carry, or use books.”

        I happen to like it too. A lot!

    • “…any connection made between such definition of the Militia and a supposed Second Amendment individual right to possess and carry weapons makes for a very limited right, indeed….”

      John, some very interesting legal parsing of the concept, however, it has been widely recognized that “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state…” if a prefatory clause and is NOT the crux of the Second Amendment, only a brief explanation of why “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” was important enough to codify in our Constitution.

      Any attempt by the federal government, or any other level of government, to define the militia, restrict its membership, or restrict the arms that militia may keep and bear, and then presume that these restrictions somehow apply to the whole of the Second Amendment is a blatant infringement that violates the amendment itself.

      That said, at the time of the Revolution and later the creation of the Constitution, each State appointed military officers and charged them with recruiting and then through proper training “well-regulating” that State’s Organized Militia. These were NOT standing armies, they were citizens trained to some degree of proficiency in the use of arms in military engagements and the discipline required in that endeavor. This “Organized” militia was under the strict control of the State in which they were formed.

      In addition to those men who were trained there also existed a potential pool of manpower – the un-organized militia, being all of those men who might be called upon to serve should the occasion arise. The fact that not all men were included in some piece of legislation does not imply that all men could not apply to and/or serve in that militia. Or women, for that matter, as camp-followers were a common aspect of military life in those days even though they were not officially part of the militia.

  32. 2. Here’s how “people” was used and understood in the Eighteenth Century. The term “people” refers to the general populace and not to individuals.

    In the unamended Constitution, the original amendments, and the modern amendments, the Framers used “people” to describe the general populace, “persons” to describe individuals, and “person” to describe an individual. The unamended Constitution uses “people” 2 times, “persons” 4 times, and “person” 16 times. Although “persons” is the plural of “person”, “people” means something different than “persons”, or the Founders would not have used both terms. For example, in the Constitution, the right of electing House members is that of the people (the general populace). Election by the people means by the general populace. After all, not every individual votes for the winner of the election, not every individual votes in the election, and not every individual is even eligible to vote in the election to begin with.

    The evolution of the First Amendment reveals that James Madison evidently incorrectly cast the rights of free speech and freedom to write as rights of the people (the general populace). The First Congress recast these rights as general rights and not as rights of the people (the general populace) specifically but kept the rights of assembly and petition as rights of the people (the general populace). It is impossible for a person to assemble. An assembly, by definition, cannot be an individual. (Although it is quite feasible for “individuals” to assemble, such connotation is not in accordance with the rest of the Constitution and would be a gross aberration in usage.) A look at predecessor provisions in the state constitutions and proposed amendments reveals that the right of assembly was for the purpose of petitioning the government. (The right of one person to petition can be easily satisfied by free speech and free press, which are general, and therefore, individual, rights.)

    The Fourth Amendment uses “people” to refer to the general populace and “persons” to refer to individuals. The Framers would not have used “persons” twice to mean “individuals” after having used “people” to mean “individuals”. That is why the Fifth Amendment, which encompasses the rights of an accused individual, uses “person” twice but does not use “people” at all.

    • I believe you are simply being pedantic in order to further your opinion. I do not fault you for doing so, I happen to agree that specific words have very specific meanings, and those meanings are important. However, it is still necessary to use context and the intent of the language to gather meaning. For instance, in the fourth amendment, the use of people vs. persons. Were we to assume that by using the word people, the intent is that of the Body of the People, and not the individuals which make up that body, the meaning changes greatly. No longer would any individual, or even necessarily a group of individuals who happen to be gathered together, be safe from unreasonable and warrant-less searches and seizures. The government would be legally able to come into your home and take anything they wanted simply on a whim, because you are a Person and not the People. Only the People would enjoy that security…implying, I assume, that a gathering of the population of a locale for political or other common purposes would be safe from unreasonable searches of their common property (such as the town hall, perhaps).

    • John, in your first comment I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on your legalistic nit-picking, but I believe a great many more qualified legal scholars than you have already determined that the Bill of Rights applies to each individual that makes up “the people”, and not to “the people” as a collective.

      I decline to argue the point with you except to say that these are natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights and that they belong to each individual by right of birth, not inclusion in a man-made document, regardless of your convoluted discussion of the supposed difference between people and persons. They are collective rights only because that collective is made up of individuals who possess the right.

  33. 3. Here’s how “bear arms” was used and understood in the Eighteenth Century.

    Although “bear Arms” means “carry weapons” to Twenty-First Century Americans, it meant “render military service” to the Founders. Conclusive evidence of this term’s true meaning comes from The Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist papers, and early state constitutions that were adopted before the Constitution. In The Federalist 46, Madison, the original author of the Second Amendment, clearly states that one-quarter of the population is “able to bear arms” (stating that the 25,000-30,000 persons (“one hundredth part of the whole number of souls”) in a regular army are “one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms”). This makes sense only when it means that one quarter of the population is “able to render military service” and can indicate only that one quarter of the population — those who were able-bodied males, since they were the ones who were “able to bear arms” (“able to render military service”) — is “able to bear arms”, as in “able to render military service”. If “able to bear arms” meant “able to carry weapons”, then Madison would be saying that only one quarter of the population is “able to carry weapons”. That connotation would make for a population in which three quarters are so physically handicapped that they are not “able to carry weapons”. Even the three quarters of the population (women, children, and the aged) that are not “able to bear arms” (“able to render military service”) would be “able to carry weapons” as long as they have the mere ability to grip and transport a gun (that is, anyone who had hands that could grip and was able to walk would have been “able to carry weapons”). It is simply not plausible that three quarters of Americans were that severely handicapped in 1787 or 1788.

    In addition, as only one example of many, the Virginia Proposed Declaration of Rights (June 27, 1788), which was intended to be an amendment to the United States Constitution, stated, “That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted, upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.” Since it would be absurd for the government to require a person to pay another person to carry weapons for the personal use of the former in the former’s stead, the only plausible definition of “bear arms” in Virginia, the land of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, was “render military service”.

    • I cannot dispute that bearing arms may be argued to mean ‘only in a service which requires the use of arms’, as opposed to simply carrying all of the time, just in case.
      However, it can be argued that there are many times in which carrying an arm without a specific target in mind can still be in service that requires arms. Police, for instance, remain armed while on duty even if not responding to a violent call. They also frequently remain armed off duty, in the event that their services are required on very short notice.
      As well, restrictions on the carrying of arms would make it difficult for a militia member to engage in their duties; not being allowed to carry arms in public unless directly headed to conflict makes things like transport, practice, quick response times, and etc. very difficult. As well, since I can argue that I am a de facto member of the Unorganized Militia, I can argue that is not just my right but my duty to help maintain a Free State. This Free State can only exist where the populace is not held in fear of murder, robbery, or other crimes, and I require a weapon to be at the ready should my services be required on short notice.

    • John, once again you are attempting to argue that the entire purpose of the Second Amendment is based on the prefatory clause and that the right to keep and bear arms is specific to service in the/a militia. This concept has been thoroughly debunked by many legal scholars, including the Supreme Court in the Heller decision.

      Also, to claim that one meaning of “bear arms” relates to military service does NOT negate all other definitions of the term which may have been extant as well. Even allowing that the intention of the Founders was to facilitate a militia, it still remains an absolute necessity the each individual be guaranteed his right to keep and bear arms, since service in the militia would not be full-time, but only when called up, hence the term Minute-Man.

      Further, MANY attempts were made in the creation of the Second Amendment to specify that it bore directly on the service in the militia. I noted one in the article, the idiot former justice is suggesting yet another, but in the process of creating the Bill of Rights all such suggestions were specifically SHOT DOWN. I believe THAT shows original intent a great deal more than your argument does.

  34. 4. We all know what “infringed” means.

    In addition, in the Second Amendment, “keep” refers to the storage of weapons by the general populace and not to the private possession of weapons by individuals. The term “keep” is used twice in the unamended Constitution; in neither Article I, Section 5, Clause 3 nor Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 does “keep” in any way connote personal private possession. The connotation of the storage of weapons by the general populace is perpetuated in modern state statutes that provide for the keeping (storage) of National Guard weapons in public depositories (armories).

    As for the public storage of weapons two centuries ago, “An Act directing a detachment from the Militia of the United States, and for erecting certain Arsenals” (March 3, 1803) appropriated money for arsenals that the President was to cause “to be furnished with such arms, ammunition, and military stores as he may deem necessary.” “An Act making provision for arming and equipping the whole body of the Militia of the United States” (April 23, 1808) authorized the President “to purchase sites for, and erect such additional arsenals and manufactories of arms, as he may deem expedient, under the limitations and restrictions now provided by law[.]” And General Knox, speaking before the House of Representatives on December 10, 1794 on the deficiencies of the 1792 Militia Act, stated, “The deficiency cannot be supplied from Europe under the present circumstances. The only solid resource to obtain a supply, is the establishment of manufactories in each State.” He stated also, “The deficiency of arms cannot be more forcibly exemplified than that, to arm the militia lately called into service, estimated at fifteen thousand, the number of ten thousand arms have been issued from the public Arsenals.”

    The Second Amendment is not the American analog to Section 7 of the English Bill of Rights, which states, “that the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law”. The American provision protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms, which is different than the English provision, which does indeed protect an individual right to possess weapons (albeit one that is limited to Protestants and one that limits the scope and purpose of the weapons). Had Madison intended to include in the Constitution an American right to possess and carry weapons, he most likely would have included the New Hampshire proposal, which stated “Twelfth, Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.” (Other proposals for a provision that would actually have protected the right of the individual to possess and carry weapons, which came from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, never even made it out of their state ratifying conventions in the first place to make it to Madison’s desk.)

    Finally, the “Bill of Rights” contains no such words. It is entitled simply “Amendments to the Constitution of the United States”. On the actual original document that contains the amendments that were sent to the states for ratification in 1789, there are actually 12 amendments. The first one (relevant to increases in representation in the House of Representatives) was never ratified, and the “second” amendment (prohibiting members of Congress from increasing their own pay) was not ratified until 1992 and is now the Twenty-Seventh Amendment. These are not individual rights. This means that the Second Amendment was actually the “fourth” amendment as proposed to the states. This refutes the assertion by many individual-right proponents that the Second Amendment is such because it is second in importance to the First Amendment (unless an individual-right proponent wants to argue that having a Congress that cannot give itself a pay raise is a more valuable “individual” right than that of possessing and carrying a weapon).

    • Again I will admit, it can reasonably be argued that keeping arms for the common defense and security of a free state does not necessarily imply an individual’s right to own their own weapon. Police are typically issued a duty weapon which is not theirs to take home.
      On the other hand, it is also a strange notion to think that an individual who could, in theory, go down to the local militia’s armory and check out a rifle for target practice or defense of the town, would be prohibited from owning and maintaining said rifle personally. When militia members are called on to respond quickly, it only makes sense that they would have their own arm to bring when possible. Owning a weapon gives much more time to acquire familiarity and skill. It also allows personalization, increasing effectiveness of the individual.

      I also submit for your consideration the following, from the Illinois State Constitution:
      Subject only to the police power, the right of the
      individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be

      Regardless of what ‘the police power’ implies, this explicit right does mention individuals.
      Furthermore, I would again bring up the idea of education and voting. If the idea was to make sure the electorate were well educated, no one could reasonably argue that only adult licensed members of the voting body would be allowed to own books, or at the very least have ready access to them.

    • Holy crap, John!

      “On the actual original document that contains the amendments that were sent to the states for ratification in 1789, there are actually 12 amendments. The first one (relevant to increases in representation in the House of Representatives) was never ratified, and the “second” amendment (prohibiting members of Congress from increasing their own pay) was not ratified until 1992 and is now the Twenty-Seventh Amendment. These are not individual rights. This means that the Second Amendment was actually the “fourth” amendment as proposed to the states. This refutes the assertion by many individual-right proponents that the Second Amendment is such because it is second in importance to the First Amendment”

      Talk about red herrings! When the Founders considered adding a Bill of Rights to their new Constitution they were specifically interested in enumerating: “…natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right[s] — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.”

      Since the first two subjects originally included bore no resemblance whatsoever to those natural rights under discussion they were removed from consideration as part of the package of such natural rights. I fail to see how in any convoluted theory that invalidates the status of those natural rights they DID include, which actually total about 28, if you list them individually.

      You are becoming the very epitome of the lawyers the writers of the Federalist Papers warned against that would attempt to undermine the and corrupt the intent of the Constitution by tearing it apart piecemeal in legal wrangling over the precise meaning of each word. The document exists in context, not necessarily in the individual words out of context, especially when you consider that there are damn few words in English that have only one particular definition.

      At this point I am at a loss as to what your purpose is in continuing to parse this document to death, unless you are just being intentionally contrary. I was originally hoping you would add tot he discussion with useful definitions of terms, I now believe you may in fact be a graduate of Obama’s erstwhile class on the Constitution in Chicago.

  35. That is about the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard. An amendment to repeal your proposed amendment is all that would be needed, and is the EXACT SAME BAR as modifying or repealing the 2nd amendment.

    • You are 100% correct, sir. The point is that the bar was intentionally set very high for the amendment of the Constitution in the hopes of preventing crap like Prohibition.

      So far this high bar has succeeded fairly well and also prevented the repeal or modification of the Bill of Rights. With any luck this state of affairs will continue, but that does not mean they will not keep trying.

      Since it is highly unlikely they would succeed in repealing the 2A, and they know it, they continue to try to subvert the RKBA by individual pieces of legislation that will either be accepted as “reasonable” or be to numerous or costly to oppose. It is a facet of politics that it is easier to tax each person a penny and have little or no resistance than to raise the same funds by taxing only a particular class or group that will find it economically worthwhile to oppose you. The same applies to anti-2A legislation. If the cost per individual is low few people will stand against the law and each time this happens the integrity of the “…shall not be infringed.” clause becomes weaker and weaker.

      It is also highly unlikely in our current political climate that my proposed amendment would even get as far as the ratification process, BUT…as stated, it would force all the politicians from both sides to publicly declare their position on the matter, and THAT would be enlightening.

  36. “It’s a shame Justice Stevens doesn’t know his history. ”

    He knows history, he just doesn’t care.

  37. The Second Amendment is an example of what is meant by the phrase, “res ipsa loquitur”. No “interpretation” is necessary as merely reading the Amendment should be sufficient to a person of ordinary intelligence and comprehension.

  38. Define “is”. Words are fungible to people with no moral or ethical spine.

    We allowed libs to redefine marriage. Ditto racism. Its often misused to describe bigotry because liberals wanted to miss define it.

    Learn the meaning of words and have fun reeducating liberals when they say something stupid. Which is often.

    • Well, “everybody knows” what “marriage” means. I just wonder what part of the Constitution authorizes the government to discriminate based on marital status. Marriage is a religious ritual, after all, and the First Amendment expressly forbids any law respecting the establishment of religion. Why is there almost a dichotomy between 2nd Amendment supporters and 1st Amendment supporters?

      • Rich,
        Although their is a religious aspect to marriage it is in reality a legal matter. That’s why you have marriage licenses. Its a binding contract that can only be broken by going to court “Divorce”. Strangely thought history and many religions marriage has always been a union of a man and a woman. That set the precedent for our law which strangely liberals like to ignore like it never happened. Besides the whole issue of gay marriage was pushed by lawyers seeking to increase their business base.

        In the ME its purely a legal ceremony that can be broken by a man standing at his door screaming 3 times I DIVORCE YOU!

        • “Although their is a religious aspect to marriage it is in reality a legal matter.”

          How in the holy futz is it legal to force me to pay more in taxes than some other guy just because that other guy was able to swindle some bimbo into signing a contract with Satan?

              • Guess that means you don’t have much use for muslims. That being said I stand by my statement that you have a low opinion of women. With few exceptions women enter into marriage of their own free will. God gave us Free Will and our Constitution Codified it into law. And the founders put limits on our behaviors to protect us all from the passing passions of the masses.

  39. I’m not sure whether those comments are directed at what I wrote, but I answered Cliff Heseltine’s questions. You may not like the answers, but they are the correct answers, and they are in accordance with documentary evidence.

  40. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the USA as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, 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
    I interpret this to mean:
    (It is) necessary (for) the security of a free state (to have) a well-regulated militia (therefore), the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed
    If it is no longer necessary for the security of a free state to have a well-regulated militia, as envisioned by the Framers, is the “shall not be infringed” right of the people to keep and bear arms null and void?
    The first Militia Act, passed May 2, 1792, provided for the authority of the president to call out the militias of the several states, “whenever the United States shall be invaded, or be in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe. The law also authorized the President to call the militias into Federal service “whenever the laws of the United States shall be opposed or the execution thereof obstructed, in any state, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by this act”
    The second Militia Act, passed May 8, 1792, provided for the organization of the state militias. It conscripted every “free able-bodied white male citizen” between the ages of 18 and 45 into a local militia company overseen by the state. Militia members were to arm themselves with a musket, bayonet and belt, two spare flints, a cartridge box with 24 bullets, and a knapsack. Men owning rifles were required to provide a powder horn, 1/4 pound of gun powder, 20 rifle balls, a shooting pouch, and a knapsack. (No mention of the slippery slope to the forced purchase of broccoli back then)
    These Militia Acts were amended by the Militia Act of 1862, which allowed African-Americans to serve in the militias of the United States. They were replaced by the Militia Act of 1903, which established the United States National Guard as the chief body of organized military reserves in the United States.
    “The people” who “keep and bear arms” for “the security of a free state” are now the United States National Guard.
    For the security of the people in every free state it is necessary to sensibly regulate the sale, purchase and use of firearms. The Second Amendment can no longer be used to squelch reasoned solutions for the national tragedy that is gun violence in our country.
    U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cls. 12-16, provides Congress with the power:
    o To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for longer Term than two Years;
    o To provide and maintain a Navy;
    o To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces;
    o To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
    o To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.

    • More red herring arguments against the RKBA.

      (1) Establishment of the National Guard did not abolish other forms of militia.

      (2) The RKBA exists independent of any and all militias.

      (3) Congress has power to regulate militias and standing armed forces, but not civilians.

      (4) The listing of numerous militia laws in no way substantiates the claim, “For the security of the people in every free state it is necessary to sensibly regulate the sale, purchase and use of firearms.”

      (5) To claim, “The Second Amendment can no longer be used to squelch reasoned solutions for the national tragedy that is gun violence in our country” is an egregious misreading of the Constitution and the many laws herein cited.

    • Troll much?

      I believe your “argument” has been eloquently shot down by the preceding reply, but:

      “For the security of the people in every free state it is necessary to sensibly regulate the sale, purchase and use of firearms. The Second Amendment can no longer be used to squelch reasoned solutions for the national tragedy that is gun violence in our country.”

      That is FAIL on so many levels that it hardly deserves a response. I will give you the only reply necessary – What part of “…shall not be infringed.” does your statement NOT violate?

  41. Easier way. It can be done legislatively. Simply make it a capital offense for any US legislator to propose any alteration of the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Punishable by life imprisonment, forfeiture of all family assets, and a revocation of citizenship.

    Call it the Bill of Rights Protection Act.

    • Tommycat: That would place a low hurtle in front of a high one. That new legislation would get thrown out first.
      pat ss: the security of the free state also depends on the prospects of tyrany being unpredictable. For this purpose, there is no substitute to masses of armed citizens.

      • Hell, they write exceptions for themselves and their staffs into all sorts of legislation, including Obamacare, what makes anybody think they would agree to an amendment subjecting them to the possibility of capital punishment?

  42. Hey y’all, been awhile. I got on this one late ’cause I had to abstain from TTAG after my last flaming/beating/whatever. I am still not a troll as was the accusation before. Don’t believe? Don’t care. I’m hopin’ all the true faithful have their computers set to ping if someone responds.

    Help me out here, seriously. I’ve been really studying up on the 2A, even to the point of reading the Federalist (BTW, the “papers” part apparently is a 20th century construction).

    Anyway, as I understand it (so far) the “well regulated militia part” meant than by allowing the “people” (populace?) the right to keep and bear their arms, the “militia” (active standing army?) would not be able to exercise their power non-discretionally against the general populace? Like tyrannically? Check and Balances? Please enlighten me if I’m getting it wrong. Respectfully.

    I didn’t even realize until just now, the antis are thinking the 2A gives the government the power to regulate the people’s (us, AKA U.S) right to keep and bear.
    Derrrrpp to me, I guess. And FOAD to them.

    / dons flame proof soot /

    • “…as I understand it (so far) the “well regulated militia part” meant than by allowing the “people” (populace?) the right to keep and bear their arms, the “militia” (active standing army?) would not be able to exercise their power non-discretionally against the general populace? Like tyrannically? Check and Balances?”

      Dude. Perhaps I should have included the answers to the questions I posed. As for your comment above:
      1) The Second Amendment has absolutely NOTHING to do with the government “allowing” the people to do anything. It was included as a prohibition AGAINST the government even thinking it had such authority.
      2) Well regulated, as it was used and understood in 1789, referred to a precise and regular action or activity, as in a watch or a clock. In regards to the militias it meant that they had some form of leadership, training and discipline such that they could and would work together in harmony in a well-regulated fashion, like a well-oiled machine, as it were. It was only in the 20th century that Progressives began their attempt to pervert this to mean that in order to be well regulated it had to be under the direct regulation of the federal government, since at that time the 2nd Amendment had not yet been considered to apply directly to the individual states. As mentioned in comments above, each State appointed officers and recruited men to their militias (this was not a conscription, a concept that was not common until they required cannon-fodder for the War Between the States), then sent them back home subject to call up in time of need. Considering the transportation limitations at the time, and the day to day requirements of living, each man kept and bore his own firearms. To even consider keeping all such arms in a central location and requiring all the Minutemen to assemble there would have been ridiculous and extremely time consuming.
      3) You will recall from your reading of the Federalist [Papers] that the pro-federal component had a deep and abiding fear of allowing the new federal government a standing army. It was their hope and desire that the creation of militias in each State would resolve the dangers of a standing army available and beholden to the federal government. It was further their desire and intention that the people who made up those militias should have the absolute right to keep and bear their arms without any fear of infringement by the federal government because they had just fought a long and costly war to defeat one tyranny and wanted the people and the militia to be a restraining and if necessary corrective influence on the tendency to tyranny they had observed in virtually all governments throughout history.
      4) These were learned men and despite their best intentions they understood that their creation of a Constitutional Republic was without precedent in history and involved many compromises. In order to ensure that any errors or omissions might be corrected they included a process for amending the Constitution and then immediately used that process to attach the Bill of Rights enumerating those natural, civil and now Constitutionally protected individual and State’s rights that the federal government was PROHIBITED from infringing, especially the Second Amendment, which preserved for the people the right and ability to repeal this new government by force of arms should it devolve into a tyranny.

      Hope that helps.

      • Cliff, call me Dave. The dude part is just an old movie reference. Thank you for keeping up on your thread and not (completely) tearing me a new one.
        About my choice of words, you’re right. Not “allowing”, but “guaranteeing the absolute right”? (my quotes). Better?

        I guess I took “well regulated” as the opposite to un-regulated. As you have described it, the militia of the States themselves provided the balance against the Government should the need arise? I fully understand training, leadership, and discipline; I am one of those persons today. Trust me, modern communication and transportation has not made assembling the militia much easier. Just going to the range takes several hours, when you mob for real it can take months.

        I agree that the Framers were intelligent and enlightened, I honestly believe that if we had to accomplish the task which they did, it would be nearly impossible today.

        I have learned to tread lightly when discussing the 2A, t’e interwebs is full of constitutional commandos ready for an ambush. However, when I’m operating in the real world, I strive to be as intelligent and tactful as possible. I’m sure you agree that the only response to an unintelligent, irrational (emotional) argument is a full on dose of logic, facts, and historical precedent presented in the most tactfull way possible. Like my dad taught me, you should be able to tell them to go to hell, and have them look forward to the trip.

        Thanks for the info, it made my “morning constitutional” (pun intended) even more enjoyable.

        I must now disarm myself and attend my college classes in their so called “gun free zone”. I am working toward change for that, just like my sister states of Idaho and Oregon.


  43. Cliff,

    I was also wondering on your position of the Ninth Amendment in conjunction with the Second. I ran into a scholarly paper and I’m still trying to mentally digest it.

  44. Dave,
    I am not a scholar, in that the root of scholar is “school” and I have not subjected myself, nor any school of “higher learning”, to that indignity. Therefore, what I write is the result of many years of personal research and consideration, not some pedantic university and their over-paid professors opinions.

    My understanding of the 9th Amendment is this: The men who wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights believed that those things they included were natural rights belonging to all men by right of birth and that the ills of most systems of government created previous to our Constitutional Republic could be traced directly to those governments trampling on the natural rights of the people.

    Depending on how you read them you may be able to discern approximately 28 natural rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, generally in the first eight amendments. These rights were considered important enough to include specifically in the Bill of Rights to place as a Constitutional block on the federal government having authority to infringe upon them. IMO they believed that this would be sufficient to protect those rights.

    As for the Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Shows that they understood that there were more natural rights than just those included in The Bill of Rights, but that it would be difficult or impossible to categorize and include them all. Therefore, since the body of the Constitution told the federal government what it was ALLOWED to do, and the Bill of Rights told the federal government what it was PROHIBITED from doing, the Ninth Amendment was the fail-safe that said; just because a natural right was not listed did not automatically give the federal government authority to infringe upon it UNLESS it was part of the authority granted in Article I, Section 8.

    The government being primarily composed of lawyers, they have since been able to pervert the “Commerce Clause” to pretend that the federal government can use interstate commerce as a reason to subvert Constitutional limitations almost at will.

    I wish you luck digesting the “scholarly paper” but caution you that in most cases these documents are written not so much to convey useful information to the layman, but to impress other scholars and hopefully get published in some scholarly publication on order to enhance their scholarly reputation. They also tend to fall into two distinct categories:
    1) Bringing forth new theories that may in fact be entirely the opinion of the author and his interpretation of the data (not necessarily wrong, but be skeptical),
    2) A convoluted rehash of the same old same old to stroke the egos of colleagues he is hoping to impress.

    Either way, as with what I write here, take the information and consider it within your own frame of reference. With luck you will take away valuable insights, but NEVER take what you read as Gospel just because someone sounds like they know what they are talking about. As an historical lesson, read The “Communist Manifesto,” a scholarly work that was wrong on almost every level and yet far too many academics today still think it might be a good idea if we would just give THEM a chance to work out the details.

    “The mechanics and details of forming a working government appear to be more difficult than the diagram we sketched on the coffee shop napkin.” – Valdimir Ilych Lenin (apocryphal)

    • Cliff,

      I am not a “scholar” in that sense either. I’m just a guy doing a career change at a tech college so that I can live with an intact body until retirement. I agree with your point on the “scholars” at most universities. I was just reading the BOR and had the thought about the 9A vs the 2A, googled it, and this guy’s paper came up. He was actually just presenting all sides of the matter, and I only got so far until attacked by the Z monster.

      Fear not, I am of a severely critical, cynical, but somewhat snarky mind. I was crushed when I found out that not everything on the internet is true . I have always been around guns, but this latest personal 2A crusade was brought on by John “death by statistics” Lott Jr. thanks to an English101 class, getting my CPL, and my new CP for EDC. I went with the M&P over the XdM if that’s OK.

      Schoolin’ or not, you are a well versed and persuasively argumentative writer. Your responses to some if not all of the above have given proof to that. They are precisely in line with RF’s current mission statement. For that, I give you props, kudos, y mucho respecto.

      “Don’t let your education get in the way of your learnin’ “. (Mark Twain)

      “Always keep an open mind, but not so open that it falls out of your head”. (Carl Sagan)

      “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read”. (Groucho Marks)

      As for this thread – “consider me gone” (Gordon Sumner).

      • “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” — George Washington

        • DBM, respectfully, here’s the original:

          “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

          Don’t want a flame war, jus’ sayin’

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