In a recent TTAG thread I watched as a debate ensued over the words “well regulated”and their meaning in the Second Amendment. I read an article recently from a deluded anti-gun liberal who pushed the idea that Madison, Jefferson and Washington were nothing but rich, white landowners who wanted a militia to put down revolts. He stated that all pro-gun folks were crazy to think otherwise. The reason we think otherwise is because history tells us otherwise . . .
The Amendments were written to amend the Constitution because the state delegates demanded that it be done. That is why we call them the Bill of Rights. They are rights that the people demanded be written to ensure the Federal government could not abuse them.
As we all know, the Second Amendment states:
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.
Those of us who have spent decades fighting for gun rights have often cursed the “militia” clause. It was, before Heller, the favorite attack point of the liberal anti-gun crowd. They claimed it meant the National Guard and no individual had a right to own a firearm.
That is not what the framers said, that is not what they wrote and we have enough to say that is not even what they thought. They had just finished a war for independence. They feared large authoritarian governments. They were the revolutionaries. This was fresh in their minds when they wrote the Bill of Rights.
The entire Bill of Rights enshrined individual protections from government intrusion. They applied to the people. Why would the Second Amendment not do so as the anti-gun crowd claims?
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 be not going to 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 twentyfifth 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 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 that a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.”
James Madison, author of the 2nd Amendment, Federalist Papers, #46, 1788
Madison clearly states what a militia is and what its purpose is; to counter the federal government. The anti-gun folks pretend this and other documents don’t exist. They wish.
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
Thomas Jefferson, proposal to the Virginia Constitution.
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of troops, that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States”
Noah Webster, 1787
Liberal propaganda aside, it’s very clear what the authors of the Second Amendment meant by “well regulated” They meant all those who could carry arms, organized when needed, to fight a corrupt federal government. So…who needs a select fire M-4 carbine? Every citizen who’s able to bear arms. That was the intent.
For the last century or so this meaning has been lost on our citizens. Most do not and never have considered the possibility of taking up arms against their own government. They watch governments around the world abuse and kill their citizens as they sit comfortably in their homes, secure in the belief that it will never happen here. Let’s hope not.
The founders never addressed hunting or self defense. These concepts were understood to be unalienable rights that no government could touch. They were above the Second Amendment’s intent. They were natural rights. If folks had the guns anyway, they could use them to protect their homes as well.
That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or prevent the PEOPLE of the United States, who are peaceable from keeping their OWN arms..
Next time an anti-gunner wants to lecture you on what the authors of the Second Amendment meant, explain what a militia is and cite my examples. It may scare the to death.
The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the state government. It is one of the “High Powers” delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it because it is above the law, and independent of lawmaking”
Cockrum v State, 24Tex394 (1859)
St. Hayes is a police officer in the southeastern United States.