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By Sheldon Richman

“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.”

—Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Is this sentence so hard to understand? Apparently so. Even some of its defenders don’t like how it is worded because it allegedly breeds misunderstanding.

But the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights is indeed a well-crafted sentence. By that, I mean that its syntax permits only one reasonable interpretation of the authors’ meaning, namely, that the people’s individual right to be armed ought to be respected and that the resulting armed populace will be secure against tyranny, invasion, and crime. Someone completely ignorant of the 18th-century American political debates but familiar with the English language should be able to make out the meaning easily.

My concern is not to demonstrate that what the amendment says is good policy, only that it says what it says. No other fair reading is possible.

Before proceeding, let’s understand the competing interpretation. As the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California put it, “The original intent of the Second Amendment was to protect the right of states to maintain militias.” Dennis Henigan of Handgun Control, Inc., says the amendment is “about the distribution of military power in a society between the federal government and the states. That’s all they [the Framers] were talking about.”

As he put it elsewhere, “The Second Amendment guaranteed the right of the people to be armed as part of a ‘well regulated’ militia, ensuring that the arming of the state militia not depend on the whim of the central government” [emphasis added].

This interpretation is diametrically opposed to the view that says the amendment affirms the right of private individuals to have firearms. The ACLU, HCI, and others reject this, arguing that the amendment only affirms the right of the states to maintain militias or, today, the National Guard. These competing interpretations can’t both be right.

The first problem with the militia interpretation is that the amendment speaks of a right and, of course, the amendment appears in the Bill of Rights. (Powers with respect to the militia are enumerated in Articles I and II of the Constitution.) No other amendment of the original ten speaks of the States having rights. Nowhere, moreover, are rights recognized for government (which in the Framers’ view is the servant) but denied to the people (the masters).

Dennis Henigan
Dennis Henigan

Henigan and company are in the untenable position of arguing that while the Framers used the term “the people” to mean individuals in the First (the right to assemble), Fourth (the right to be secure in persons, houses, papers, and effects), Ninth (unenumerated rights), and Tenth (reserved powers) Amendments, they suddenly used the same term to mean “the States” in the Second. That makes no sense.

More important, the diction and syntax of the amendment contradict Henigan’s argument. If the Framers meant to say that the States have a right to organize militias or that only people who are members of the militia have a right to guns, why would they say, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”? The Framers were intelligent men with a good grasp of the language. As we can see from the Tenth Amendment, they were capable of saying “States” when they meant States and “people” when they meant people.

They could have said, “The right of the States to organize and arm militias shall not be infringed,” though that would have contradicted Article I, Section 8, which delegated that power to the Congress. (Roger Sherman proposed such language, but it was rejected.) Or, they could have written, “The right of members of the state militia to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” though that would have contradicted Article I, Section 9, which forbids the States to “keep Troops … in time of Peace.” They didn’t write it that way. They wrote “the people,” without qualification. (The Supreme Court said in the 1990 case U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez that “the people” has the same meaning—individuals—throughout the Bill of Rights.)

But, say the gun controllers, what of that opening phrase, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state”? Here’s where we have to do some syntactical analysis. James Madison’s original draft reversed the order of the amendment: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country.” Perhaps this version makes Madison’s thought more clear. His sentence implies that the way to achieve the well-armed and well-regulated militia that is necessary to the security of a free state is to recognize the right of people to own guns.

In other words, without the individual freedom to own and carry arms, there can be no militia. As to the term “well regulated,” it does not refer to government regulation. This can be seen in Federalist 29, where Alexander Hamilton wrote that a militia acquired “the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia” by going “through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary.”

How do we know that the “well regulated militia” is defined in terms of an armed populace and not vice versa? The syntax of the sentence tells us. Madison and his colleagues in the House of Representatives chose to put the militia reference into a dependent phrase. They picked the weakest possible construction by using the participle “being” instead of writing, say, “Since a well regulated militia is necessary. …” Their syntax keeps the militia idea from stealing the thunder of what is to come later in the sentence. Moreover, the weak form indicates that the need for a militia was offered not as a reason (or condition) for prohibiting infringement of the stated right but rather as the reason for enumerating the right in the Bill of Rights. (It could have been left implicit in the Ninth Amendment, which affirms unenumerated rights.)

All of this indicates the highly dependent and secondary status of the phrase. Dependent on what? The main, independent clause, which emphatically and unequivocally declares that the people’s right to have guns “shall not be infringed.” (Note: the amendment presupposes the right; it doesn’t grant it.)

ink blot inkblot

Let’s go at this from another direction. Imagine that a Borkian inkblot covers the words “well regulated militia.” All we have is: “A [inkblot] being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” To make an intelligent guess about the obscured words, we would have to reason from the independent clause back to the dependent phrase. We would know intuitively that the missing words must be consistent with the people having the right to keep and bear arms. In fact, anything else would be patently ridiculous.

Try this: “A well-regulated professional standing army (or National Guard) being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That sentence would bewilder any honest reader. He’d ask why such unlike elements were combined in one sentence. It makes no sense. It’s a non sequitur.

Imagine the deliberations of the Committee of Eleven, the group of House members to which Madison’s proposed bill of rights was referred. Assume that one member says, “We should have an amendment addressing the fact that the way to achieve the well-regulated militia that is necessary to the security of a free state is for the national government to respect the right of the States to organize and arm militias.” “No,” replies another member. “The amendment should reflect the fact that the way to achieve the well-regulated militia that is necessary to the security of a free state is for the government to respect the people’s right to bear arms.” If both members were told to turn their declarative sentences into the imperative form appropriate to a bill of rights, which one would have come up with the language that became the Second Amendment? The question answers itself.

The Committee of Eleven reversed the elements of Madison’s amendment. But that, of course, did not change the meaning, only the emphasis. In fact, the reversal made it a better sentence for the Bill of Rights. As adopted, the amendment begins by quickly putting on the record the most important reason for its inclusion in the Bill of Rights but without dwelling on the matter; that’s what the weak participle, “being,” accomplishes. The sentence then moves on to the main event: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” The Framers correctly intuited that in a Bill of Rights, the last thing the reader should have ringing in his mind’s ear is the absolute prohibition on infringement of the natural right to own guns.

I am not suggesting that the Framers said explicitly that the militia reference should go into a dependent participial phrase so that future readers would know that it takes its meaning from the independent clause. They didn’t need to do that. To be fluent in English means that one intuits the correct syntax for the occasion and purpose at hand. Much knowledge of a language is tacit. We have to assume that the Framers knew what they were saying.

This analysis is seconded by two professional grammarians and usage experts. In 1991, author J. Neil Schulman submitted the text of the Second Amendment to A. C. Brocki, editorial coordinator of the Office of Instruction of the Los Angeles Unified School District and a former senior editor for Houghton Mifflin, and Roy Copperud, now deceased, the author of several well-regarded usage books and a member of the American Heritage Dictionary usage panel. Brocki and Copperud told Schulman that the right recognized in the amendment is unconditional and unrestricted as to who possesses it.

Asked if the amendment could be interpreted to mean that only the militia had the right, Brocki replied, “No, I can’t see that.” According to Copperud, “The sentence does not restrict the right to keep and bear arms, nor does it state or imply possession of the right elsewhere or by others than the people.” As to the relation of the militia to the people, Schulman paraphrased Brocki as saying, “The sentence means that the people are the militia, and that the people have the right which is mentioned.” On this point, Copperud, who was sympathetic to gun control, nevertheless said, “The right to keep and bear arms is asserted as essential for maintaining the militia.”

It is also important to realize that, as a matter of logic, the opening phrase does not limit the main clause. As the legal scholar and philosopher Stephen Halbrook has argued, although part one of the amendment implies part two, it does not follow that if part one doesn’t obtain, part two is null and void. The sentence “The earth being flat, the right of the people to avoid ocean travel shall not be infringed” does not imply that if the earth is round, people may be compelled to sail. The Framers would not have implied that a right can properly be infringed; to call something a right is to say that no infringement is proper. As another philosopher and legal scholar, Roger Pilon, has written, the amendment implies that the need for a militia is a sufficient but not a necessary condition for forbidding infringement of the right to have firearms. The sentence also tells us that an armed populace is a necessary condition for a well-regulated militia.

A word about punctuation: most reproductions of the Second Amendment contain a plethora of commas: “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.” But according to the American Law Division of the Library of Congress, this is not how the amendment was punctuated in the version adopted by Congress in 1789 and ratified by the States. That version contained only one comma, after the word state which, by the way, was not uppercased in the original, indicating a generic political entity as opposed to the particular States of the Union. If the superfluous commas have confused people about the amendment’s meaning, that cause of confusion is now removed.

comma commas

One need not resort to historical materials to interpret the Second Amendment, because it is all there in the text. Nevertheless, it is appropriate to point out that history supports, and in no way contradicts, that reading. Gun ownership was ubiquitous in 18th-century America, and the Founding Fathers repeatedly acknowledged the importance of an armed citizenry. They also stated over and over that the militia is, as George Mason, the acknowledged father of the Bill of Rights, put it, “the whole people.” Madison himself, in Federalist 46, sought to assuage the fears of the American people during the ratification debate by noting that an abusive standing army “would be opposed [by] a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands.” That would have comprised the entire free adult male population at the time.

There’s no question that at the center of the American people’s tacit ideology was the principle that, ultimately, they could not delegate the right of self-defense to anyone else and thus they were responsible for their own safety.

Perhaps the deterioration of American education is illustrated by the high correlation between the number of years a person has attended school and his inability to understand the words “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It is more likely, though, that those who interpret the Second Amendment to preclude an individual right to own guns are driven by their political agenda. Whichever the case, they do themselves no credit when they tell us that a simple, elegant sentence means the opposite of what it clearly says.

Sheldon Richman is the former editor of ‘The Freeman’ and a contributor to ‘The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.’ He is the author of Separating School and State: How to Liberate America’s Families and thousands of articles. 

This article was originally published on Read the original article.


This article was originally published in 1998. 

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  1. Nobody, now, in the past, in the future, has the power or the intelligence to change one word of the 2nd! Or any of the others for that matter!!

    • “Nobody, now, in the past, in the future, has the power or the intelligence to change one word of the 2nd! Or any of the others for that matter!!”

      But, “the People” do.

      They have the power to overturn/repeal every word.

    • The Second Amendment as a matter of law, ultimately, like the rest of the Constitution, means what the Supreme Court says it means, no more and no less. Thank Chief Justice John Marshall and the US Supreme Court in Marbury vs Madison (1803) for that.

      • “Thank Chief Justice John Marshall and the US Supreme Court in Marbury vs Madison (1803) for that.”

        Actually, it was the Congress. Only fourteen years after the ratification of the Constitution, Congress refused to act to reverse the SC via legislation, or rein in the SC through constitutional amendment setting the boundaries for the SC. Marshall saw a vacuum, and filled it; just such a thing the founders feared about government.

  2. This is real simple; WE THE PEOPLE are the “militia”. We either ARE the standing army or it’s main supplement. Because of this WE THE PEOPLE are required to keep, maintain, drill and practice with, and wear military grade small arms. It does not say nor imply; but this, if that, when, excepting, etc., and those in any sort of disagreement, distrust, displeasure can simply pack their asses up and immigrate elsewhere.

    • It’s for more than small arms. All weapons. Now you can debate whether that needs to be changed. I don’t believe that it should. It includes all weapons.

  3. Much of the obfuscation on the 2nd amendment is changing the meaning of the words used. The best example, as partially described in the article, is the definition of ‘State’. In this instance ‘State’ dose not refer to government but the condition of being of the individual as in being Free. If you read the amendment with the view of the individual’s state of being Free it will now make perfect sense and matches the rest of the Bill of Rights. If you dont agree then using the language and definitions of the time prove this view wrong.

    Definitions from the 1828 Webster Dictionary

    A-An adjective, commonly called the indefinite article, and signifying one or any, but less emphatically.
    well-Suitably to one’s condition, to the occasion, or to a proposed end or use; suitably; abundantly; fully; adequately; thoroughly
    regulated- Adjusted by rule, method or forms; put in good order; subjected to rules or restrictions
    Militia- In the widest sense, the whole military force of a nation, including both those engaged in military service as a business, and those competent and available for such service; specifically, the body of citizens enrolled for military instruction and discipline, but not subject to be called into actual service except in emergencies.
    being- Since; inasmuch as
    necessary-Such as must be; impossible to be otherwise; not to be avoided; inevitable
    to-The preposition to primarily indicates approach and arrival, motion made in the direction of a place or thing and attaining it, access; and also, motion or tendency without arrival; movement toward
    the- A word placed before nouns to limit or individualize their meaning
    security-The condition or quality of being secure; secureness. Specifically: (a) Freedom from apprehension, anxiety, or care; confidence of power of safety; hence, assurance; certainty.
    of-In a general sense, from, or out from; proceeding from; belonging to; relating to; concerning;
    a- (see above definition)
    free-Exempt from subjection to the will of others; not under restraint, control, or compulsion; able to follow one’s own impulses, desires, or inclinations; determining one’s own course of action; not dependent; at liberty.
    State-The circumstances or condition of a being or thing at any given time.,
    the-(see above definition)
    right-Conformed to the constitution of man and the will of God, or to justice and equity; not deviating from the true and just; according with truth and duty; just; true.
    of- (see above definition)
    the- (see above definition)
    people- The body of persons who compose a community, tribe, nation, or race; an aggregate of individuals forming a whole; a community; a nation
    to- (see above definition)
    keep- To hold; to restrain from departure or removal; not to let go of; to retain in one’s power or possession; not to lose; to retain; to detain.
    and- A particle which expresses the relation of connection or addition. It is used to conjoin a word with a word, a clause with a clause, or a sentence with a sentence.
    bear- To possess or carry, as a mark of authority or distinction; to wear; as, to bear a sword, badge, or name
    Arms-, Instruments or weapons of offense or defense.
    shall- To owe; to be under obligation for
    not- A word used to express negation, prohibition, denial, or refusal.
    be- To exist actually, or in the world of fact; to have existence
    infringed- Broken; violated; transgresses.

    • Much appreciated. Hearing state defined as an individual persons condition of freedom is new to me.

    • Help.

      I have searched for the original text to verify if state was indeed not capitalized, and to see how many commas were used. I can’t find it anywhere.

      I did find that there are different versions that states ratified, with one, two or more commas.

      If you have anything you can post to help find this data I would love to see it.

      PS: love the idea that state is meant for each individual, not the State we live in. That would make a whole lot of difference if the original is written that way, which I was not able to verify.

      • If you have anything you can post to help find this data I would love to see it.

        Found a document in the National Archive identified as an original of the BOR. While the doc is very faint, zooming in will show a more clear rendering. The doc uses only one comma, and “State” at the end of the dependent* clause.

        *If you can remove a clause from a sentence, and the sentence remains intelligible, the removed clause is “dependent” upon the remainder…and not controlling.

  4. I am continually amazed that so called experts that the antigun people use never quote the actual words of the framers outs side of their own interpretations of the 2nd amendment. The framers were quite clear in their intent and they said so in thei writings that the people, regardless of their militia status had the god given right to keep and bear arms.

    The modern day interpretations given by the anti gun crowd just further the hate for slimy lawyers that try to twist words to meets their own ends.

  5. The intent of the 2A is crystal clear when you look at how the Founding Fathers ruled the country during it’s first 40 years or so.

    People that believe the 2A old have been interpreted any other way need to explain why private ownership of guns did not stop and no one was forced to keep their guns in militia controlled armories.

  6. The general public is gradually waking up to the proper meaning of the 2A as evidenced by the massive surge in gun ownership over the past 18 months, as well as the relaxation of restrictive gun laws in many States in the last few years. And partly because of this, the other side is panicking & redoubling their efforts to restrict or eliminate firearms. The outcome of this battle, however, has yet to be decided.

  7. The left is working overtime to make sure “the people” is interpreted as the state across all amendments. The liberal left is effectively gone. It’s fascist progressivism for as far as the eye can see.

  8. The existence of a well functioning militia is dependent on an armed, proficient citizenry, whose right to arms shall not be infringed.
    The existence of the citizens rights to arms that shall not be infringed is not dependent on the existence of a militia.

    The 2nd amendment says to government, “NO!, YOU MAY NOT”.

  9. Free State means Freedom State. Freedom means Free, Free means Freedom. Anyway you slice the pie or play on words The Second Amendment does not mean the state is Free to engage in tyranny, gun control, racism, genocide or other such filth. Only a complete lowlife, sneaky, pasty mouth, pompous Gun Control jackazz kissing a king’s behind would attempt to explain away A God Given Right of The People.

    Now that we have beat a dead horse for the millionth time how about a Headline and a few paragraphs defining Gun Control by exposing its racist and genocide roots to the politically inept, history illiterate useless Gun Owners who think to themselves a “little bit” of Gun Control is OK?

    • Nope, gun control is never OK, unless you are talking about controlling your safety rules, then I’m all for save handling of a weapon

      • I hear you….However some very sneaky people try to make Gun Control OK by attaching the Safe Handling of Firearms to Gun Control with surface labels such as Sensible Gun Control, etc. Such attempts amount to sugarcoating poop.

        It all boils down to 3 separate things…

        1) The Second Amendment is one thing.
        2) The criminal misuse of firearms, etc. is another thing.
        3) History confirms Gun Control in any shape or form is a racist and nazi based Thing.

  10. The 2nd Amendment say nothing and does nothing without the force of will of “We the People” to Preserve and Protect it. There will always be those who wish to either define it to support their Anti Constitution agenda or those who want it removed. Mere words on a piece of paper hold no sway in an environment of historical redefinition and outright denial. Unless “We the People” soundly Defeat the Ideology of Anti 2A Progressives it will always be under attack. Doing so by a return to Constitutional Values through proper education will take as many decades as it has taken to get Our nation to the point it is today. All the while allowing Anti Constitution Ideology to continue to permeate Society. Like any destructive disease it cannot be negotiated with or reeducated away. It must be destroy by any and all means available. The Progressive Long Game strategy of corrupting the education system and infiltrating the Governmental Bureaucracy have been the tools they needed to allow for the attacks and victories We are witnessing now in many parts of Our Nation. The Real question now is. Can “We the People” rely on a Long Game strategy to return to the values of decades ago or must the Progressive’s Plan of redefining and/or eliminating long held beliefs in Freedom and Liberties be destroy through quick and decisive action and the bloodshed that may go along with it. This is a question all Free People’s have had to wrest with down through history. Was their Freedom from Tyranny worth the potential cost of life or was it easier to just surrender and survive.

  11. I think it matters little what Madison thought his words meant. It matters little more what the Congressmen thought the revised proposed amendment meant. Those who ratified the amendment are the authors and it matters only what they meant.

    Arguably, it’s difficult to establish with particularity what hundreds of thousands of men living 200 years ago might have thought those words meant. Conversely, it’s not difficult to reconstruct what those men did in their daily lives and how they would have thought about political matters; especially as respects balancing the rights of citizens with the powers delegated to government.

    It is implausible to assert that adult men at the time of ratification intended to delegate to government, either the states or Feds, the power to regulate keeping and carrying of firearms to the extent now in force. What evidence is there to support such an intent? These men would have always tipped the balance in favor of liberty and against empowering government.

    These men would have been cognizant of the need to go armed at individual discretion for defense against fauna, hostile Indians and highwaymen. There was no police force. Hew and cry was relatively ineffective outside densely populated towns. There was no effective communication system to summon help beyond shouting distance.

    We are free to speculate whether these same men – were they alive today and acclimated to our present circumstances – might have made a different decision than that which they made in 1792. But this would be nothing more than pure speculation. We are constrained to strive to deduce what they meant in 1792 under conditions then prevailing. That was – and continues to be – the meaning of the 2A.

    Naturally, We the People could reconsider the matter afresh today. We have the power to amend the Constitution. In any such case, that would thereupon become the supreme law of the land. Until that happens, we are bound to understand and uphold the meaning that we inherited from the founding generation.

    • “I think it matters little what Madison thought his words meant.”

      Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard defending the 2A and Constitution. The meaning is clear, the right to keep and bear arms means the militia can never be disarmed.

      If his words have no meaning, anyone (including anti gun turds) can interpret them as they wish to fit their narrative.

    • “I think it matters little what Madison thought his words meant. It matters little more what the Congressmen thought the revised proposed amendment meant.”

      A way to attack it is to develop a list of common words in the late 1700s that mean something considerably different today, than the meaning at the time of the constitution’s drafting.

      That will put a different perspective to the argument. At least to the intellectually-honest ones, anyway.

      Then again, it likely won’t. They are hell-bent on grabbing every firearm they can so we can’t stop them from going full fascist…

  12. Miner49er said you can only have a gunm if your in a well regulated militia. The author of this article doesn’t know what hes talking about.
    Miner49er has citations by gawd.

    • “…Miner49er has citations by gawd.”

      Yes little marsupial, there were citations, from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

      However, the citation I used was ‘cherry picked’ as I would only include part of the definition.

      Without my usual lies, agitprop, disinformation, rhetoric, untruths, propaganda, and dishonesty, we can plainly see the founders used regulated to mean “put in good order”, referring to the condition of one’s firearms and equipment.

      In other words the founder knew firearms only have two enemies; Rust and Politicians.

      Here is the complete definition;

      regulated- Adjusted by rule, method or forms; put in good order; subjected to rules or restrictions.

  13. Words and sentences have meaning, except when Marxist/Democrats start using them and interpreting them. Anyone who thinks the 2nd Amendment doesn’t protect the individual right to keep and bear arms is delusional or a Marxist/Democrat who is unable to understand english or simple logic, and will claim to believe anything that supports their own political bias.

  14. “A well-balanced breakfast being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed.” Who has the right to the food: the breakfast, or the people?

    • This is how you do it, right here. The grammar and logic of the Second Amendment aren’t difficult, but a certain set of slimy characters have gone to great lengths to make it seem that way. This plainly shows the utter nonsense of their position.

  15. Buecephalas, The reason why the anti-2/A factions don’t like to repeat the exact wording of the 2nd/A is that they don’t want to keep repeating ‘Shall Not be Infringed’. This is because they know they don’t have much of an argument about the right of every citizen to have personal firearms (especially since We, The People’ giving our Consent to the government to maintain a standing professional army for national defense so WE also Own those weapons of war as well, technically speaking. in the real schema of our Republic authority).

    Because they know they would face an almost eternal insurmountable uphill battle if they tried to repeal the 2nd/A or outright ban any of our personal firearms to any effective state of accomplishment.

    So they try to present a mind fuck meme from decades old brainwashing that says something like ‘We’re not trying to abrogate the 2nd/A. You can have all your revolvers and hunting shitguns you want (as long as they’re registered and we know who has them and where they'[re at) All we want is a common sense bit of a few innocuous ‘restrictions’ because of the immense firearm carnage everywhere by bad criminal behavior. What’s wrong with that? We just want to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people. No one in their right mind thinks that ‘everybody’ should have a gun? Afterall, It’s for your own public safety?

    And while everybody mulls that sinister logical fallacy around in their brains full of mush, They simply continue to implement one of the most egregious frauds and violations on American Freedom and second amendment rights in history to eventually succeed in their disarmament agenda with almost ridiculously easy tactics.

    The idea of expanding on the 34NFA And 68GCA and a couple other ‘just common sense’ laws in between and subsequently out of control back door disarmament tactics like Red flag laws, and all sorts of new ‘prohibited persons’ laws and administrative mandates.

    All being the dirty little stepchild of making all convicted felons permanently deprived of their right to bear arms, FOREVER! The Disarmament problem was Solved without even having to ban guns outright. Just make enough laws where eventually, for all practical purposes, virtually everybody engaging in everyday American behavior will be breaking some law or rule that makes them a firearm prohibited person just by being an ex-law-breaker, or designated danger to society, even though neither of these counterfeit categories mean that these so-called speciously and subjectively designated ‘prohibited persons’ cannot exist peacefully in society as current law abiding citizens exercising any and all rights as everyone else.

    That wasn’t going on during the early days of our Constitutional Republic? The only time someone could not have weapons or unbridled freedoms was if they were institutionalized or incarcerated. There were never any laws that Permanently deprived anyone of their rights if they were out of prison and walking around free and not doing anything wrong or harming anyone? At least not in Constitutional America?

    So that’s why they try to avoid repeating the 2nd/A. It’s because in reality ALL gun control laws are illegal to enforce. Plenty of well established SCOTUS law on this. SHALL Not be Infringed’ clearly means No restrictions, qualifications, exceptions, PERIOD!

    So how the fuck are they getting away with this, Still!

    C’mon, you know the answer. We LET them. Part of their sinister socialist subterfuge is to also brainwash us into becoming lazy feckless armchair rangers (when we’re not playing game of thrones or homo-tunafish on our devices). Just relax, enjoy yourself. This latest Trillion dollar ‘infrastructure’ bill will drip out another cash stimulus check for all you socialist oriented useful idiots. And you won’t have to use it to pay your rent. We won’t let those mean ‘ol White National landlords gouge you during one of our CCP directed outbreaks. Relax and enjoy your new Nanny-fuck Big daddy woo woo knee bounce.

    Meanwhile, we’ll try to make MORE ‘prohibited persons’ who won’t be ‘allowed’ to have guns by designating a whole culture of Nation Security designated potential hate criminals and Domestic terrorists and criminal racists organizations and White supremacist groups.

    NO No no, don’t worry all you poor underprivileged Chicago Active criminal murdering Street gangs who were all victims of White supremacy? Y’all just continue what you’re doing. We just want to point to you as a motivation to round up EVERYBODY’s guns. We’re
    really not interested in making your active criminal gang associations and ongoing organized crime memberships a ‘prohibited person’ crime? We know you can’t help it.

    And Besides, that might really work to reduce gun violence. You can’t have gang shootings without the gangs? So, you know, it’s really not about reducing crime. It’s a…well, it’s a political agenda Thang.

  16. “A well-educated electorate being necessary to the self-government of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear books shall not be infringed.”

    Which part of that authorizes any government to restrict the possession of books only to registered voters (the electorate) and not all citizens (the people)?

    Which part of it authorizes any government to ban the possession of printed media of over 7 pages in length (“high-capacity magazines”)?

  17. To understand why 2A was really written one must understand why a revolution was started. It was started by greed monger merchants that were two cheap and stingy to pay a few pennies in taxes to support the hand that was feeding them i.e. The British Government. Both nations were at that time prospering from global trade and when that trade was destroyed through war both nations suffered economically and the U.S. suffered the most setting back economic development and prosperity for decades.

    The criminal Founders called Democracy “mob rule” and when they seized power because of a French Victory over the English they denied even the majority of white men from voting and therefore having a say in their own government. Only the rich and powerful were allowed to vote and the Nation was set up to run on blind greed and corruption. The last thing the criminal founders wanted was an armed populace that could rise up against them.

    The U.S. was a nation founded for the greedy rich and by the greedy rich. When the criminal founders through political pressure were made to grant most white men the right to vote they gave it to them with one hand and then through gerrymandering took it away from them. Later the corrupt electoral college put the final nail in the coffin of democracy. There would be no multiple political parties through a parliamentary government and no real democracy.

    2A was written in the vaguest of terms to fool the “hillbilly” into thinking he had firearms rights. In reality he had none and the courts taking full advantage of the smoke and mirrors of the language used in 2A have been banning and restricting firearms ever since.

    In the 1930’s the gun hating courts claimed only military weapons were protected so they could uphold an anti-gun law banning short barreled shotguns. Later in time when the great Satan and gun hating Pres. Reagan banned machine guns the corrupt courts then reversed course and claimed only certain sporting guns were protected and then under Clinton they did another reverse and blessed the biggest sporting guns ban in U.S. history, the Clinton Assault rifle ban which banned every high capacity firearm ever owned in the U.S. proving what a complete joke 2A is.

    And even the much ballyhooed Scalia decision was again a smoke and mirrors dance when Scalia declared the courts had the right to “regulate” firearms which is double talk for ban or restrict which further eroded 2A.

    The history of the gun hating corrupt courts proves that 2A is worth less than the paper it is written on and the only use one could really make of it would be to wipe your ass with it.

    • What a fantasy world you live in. It sucks to be as low iq as you. But you make great cannon fodder for the fascist left.

      • My little dacie daisy, tell mommie why you stopped taking your meds again?

        Remember my ‘special’ little…err…’boy’ (kinda) what the doctors said about your brain? How it needs these meds, or you will become unbalanced and say strange and weird things?

        Yes, of course you do.

        Now go and take your yummy yummy meds, little dacey daisy, you don’t want to go back to that padded place, do you?

    • Look, I’m not going to be critical of you for your view point. And as soon as I stop laughing so hard at what you wrote I’ll look up some phone numbers for you so you can get help.

    • You’d make a great subject in some other country, “Dacian.” I suggest you go find one of them (any socialist shitshow would do…there’s a couple hundred to choose from) and go live a happier life.

      • My little dacie daisy’s psychiatrists says he is incapable of a happy life.

        Demon child, I believe he was called.

  18. “Well Regulated” means “Properly Functioning” as in: A well regulated watch keeps proper time.
    This definition of Well Regulated was in common usage a the time of the 2nd Amendments writing and is still in use today.

  19. I might add that there was in Haiti a slave revolt. Many White slavers fled the country and moved with their slaves to the U.S. and the Americans thought that a slave revolt in the U.S. was a real possibility. 2A was an inducement by the Federal Govt. to cajole the States into joining it by granting them sovereignty over their own militias to mass murder slaves if they revolted. Later in time of course that right was taken away from them and the local militia (National Guard) was placed under control of the Feds.)

    As one can see there was a variety of reasons 2a was written but none of them had anything to do with the individuals right to own arms.

    • BS, period.

      The federalists papers describe just what the founder creator of the 2nd amendment was thinking and writing about. He specifically said it was, in the language of the times, the individuals right to bear arms.

      the bill of rights, including the 2nd amendment, was ratified on December 15, 1791 when Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 (the first 10 the second of which is the 2nd amendment) of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal. But this ratification process had been going on for a while already before that happened for almost three years. The second amendment was adopted in 1789.

      The Haitian Revolution (also known as the “Haiti slave revolt”) had nothing to do with it and that revolution did not start until 22 August 1791 two years after the 2nd amendment was adopted. There was no Haiti slave revolt” when the 2nd amendment was adopted.

      In other words the second amendment was written and adopted almost two years before the Haitian Revolution.

      • No it is you that are full of BS because your reading comprehension is at the 5th grade level.. 2A was the carrot that was used to get the States to join the Federal Government and the Haitian revolution had a tremendous influence on the states to join the Federal Government. What I said was valid you just failed to understand my post.

        In 1789, the 13 states replaced the Articles of Confederation of 1777 with the Constitution of the United States of America. With its amendments, it remains the fundamental governing law of the United States.

        The first stage of the Haitian Revolution occurred between 1789 and 1791, when free people of
        color began to fight —

        • ” the Haitian revolution had a tremendous influence on the states to join the Federal Government ”

          Being more than just a little bit of a history buff, I would love to see some kind of back-up documentation for this. Barring that, I have to take this as just some fantasy bullshit you pulled out of your asshole.

        • The Haitian Revolution began 22 Aug 1791.

          The US Constitution was ratified 21 June 1788. It became effective April 1789. The BoR was ratified 15 Dec 1791.

          To further understand the history of the BoR understand that on 8 June 1789 James Madison introduced Amendments to the Constitution to the House of Representatives. 24 Aug 1789 the House passed 17 Amendments and sent them to the Senate.

          2 September 1789 the Senate debated, made changes to the proposed Amendments from the House. They agreed to 12 Amendments on 9 September 1789.

          On 25 September 1789 Congress agreed upon the 12 amendments, and they were sent to the states for approval. Articles 3 through 12 were ratified and became the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791.

          The Amendments passed by Congress and sent to the States was done before the Haitian Revolution. Just because the final ratification was accomplished after the start Haitian Revolution does not make it because of it. The process was already begun. No one with the reading comprehension of a 3rd grader or higher could ever argue that the 2A was because of a Revolution in Haiti.

        • You are so full of it. Typical anti-2A made up crap. You think you are the first person to try this kind of crap? Its an old anti-2A myth argument that’s been around since the 1980’s and its been so completely debunked so many times that even the gun-control groups and lawyers don’t use it any more.

          Like I said previously:

          the bill of rights, including the 2nd amendment, was ratified on December 15, 1791 when Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 (the first 10 the second of which is the 2nd amendment) of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal. But this ratification process had been going on for a while already before that happened for almost three years. The second amendment was adopted in 1789.

          The Haitian Revolution (also known as the “Haiti slave revolt”) had nothing to do with it and that revolution did not start until 22 August 1791 two years after the 2nd amendment was adopted. There was no Haiti slave revolt” when the 2nd amendment was adopted.

          In other words the second amendment was written and adopted almost two years before the Haitian Revolution.

          Now i’ll tell you the rest.

          The 2nd amendment came into existence AFTER the 13 colonies had already decided to form a “union” and AFTER they had already decided that each colony would hold the power of a “sovereign state” unto themselves. In other words, they could not have been enticed to join the “union” by the 2A as they were already in their “union” as “sovereign states”, which gave them the power to make declared war because making war is an act and power reserved unto a ‘sovereign state’ thus the revolution, before the 2A was created and long before the Haitian revolution.

          There was no federal government to join. Today there is still no federal government to join. There is a “union” of sovereign states” which form the United States Of America – its not the “United Federal Government Of America” you moron. I’ll bet you wish it were the “United Federal Government Of America” though.

          The Constitution tells you this with “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union”

          Or lets phrase it, in part, in today’s language style and english with: “We the People form a union of sovereign states” – forming a country or union is a “sovereign state” power.

          Next it wasn’t “13 states”. It was 13 colony’s who had reserved unto them selves the powers of a “sovereign state”, there is a difference. One of these powers was to be independent from others influence with the right to govern the citizens of their “sovereign state” as they saw fit in accordance with the constitution and their “sovereign” powers responsible to the people in that “sovereign state”. They didn’t need to be enticed into the union by a 2’d amendment for putting down any possible slave rebellion, they were already a union of “sovereign states” before the 2nd amendment was created with each “sovereign” state of that union free to put down any rebellion as they saw fit. All that was needed was the “paperwork” to officially reserve the “sovereign powers” unto them selves responsible to the people and thus the Constitution.

          The word “States” in “United States of America” does not mean a geographic boundary area of a state like on a map – it means the “sovereign” members of the union – the “sovereign states” in the “union” thus “United” in a country area called “America” thus “The United States of America”.

          What we call the “federal government” today was formed by the “sovereign power” of the 13 colonies. It was formed to be subservient to the “sovereign power states”, its powers outlined in the Constitution with all other powers reserved to the “sovereign states”. As more joined this union our country grew, eventually into the 50 states of today or in constitutional terms 50 “sovereign states” in a Union

  20. Of course, when the anti-gun lobby declares the 2nd Amendment is meant to protect the “right” of the States to provide for the arming of their militias, they don’t really mean it. Otherwise a state could recruit every able-bodied citizen into its militia and order them to procure arms privately (as was, in fact, the norm in the Founding era), and the Federal government would be powerless to interfere.

  21. On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit of the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.

    Thomas Jefferson

  22. What is neat is that the Second Amendment was written about during the time of its drafting, during ratification, and post ratification. When anyone says that we can’t know what Madison meant are disingenuous. Doing some reading of the Federalist papers gives you an explanation of the constitution, including the Second Amendment. My favorite quote is from Tench Coxe prior to ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. In it, he mentioned that all the terrible implements of the soldier are a right for the people.

    “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an Americans.” ~ Tench Coxe

    • It’s worth noting that the 2A didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. A number of the states — PA most notably, but others as well — already had some very 2A-like wording in their constitutions before the convention was even called.

      • That is a very good point. It was not just a magical phrase pulled from the ether. It was an established concept by the founders. If people only did some reading of history and then were honest about it.

        • “If people only did some reading of history and then were honest about it.”

          What an elitist proposition. Doing as you recommend requires a good vocabulary, and an understanding of the importance of both spelling and grammar. If something cannot be expressed in three letters (LOL, OMG, BTW, etc), or emoticons, it isn’t worth much attention.

  23. Two things constantly amuse me (as if that is important) at TTAG:
    – the insistence that contrary, non-echo chamber comments must be suppressed
    – the belief that anyone can defeat, persuade, or run-off trolls

    Oh, yeah, a third amusement:
    – the compulsion to engage “trolls”; just delete before reading.


  25. Run for school board and make the Second Amendment a priority to be taught in your local schools. Don’t let people with PhDs control the narrative.

  26. CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT: SEC. 15. Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.

  27. n the crafting of the Second Amendment at the Constitutional Convention

    It was in response to the concerns coming out of the Virginia ratification convention for the Constitution, led by Patrick Henry and George Mason, that a militia that was controlled solely by the federal government would not be there to protect the slave owners from an enslaved uprising. And … James Madison crafted that language in order to mollify the concerns coming out of Virginia and the anti-Federalists, that they would still have full control over their state militias — and those militias were used in order to quell slave revolts. … The Second Amendment really provided the cover, the assurances that Patrick Henry and George Mason needed, that the militias would not be controlled by the federal government, but that they would be controlled by the states and at the beck and call of the states to be able to put down these uprisings.

    On Black people’s access to arms after the American Revolution

    You saw incredible restrictions being put in place about limiting access to arms. And this is across the board for free Blacks and, particularly, for the enslaved. And with each uprising, the laws became even more strict, even more definitive, about who could and who could not bear arms. And so free Blacks were particularly proscribed. And so we see this, for instance, in Georgia, where Georgia had a law that restricted the carrying of guns.

    On the Founding Fathers’ fear of a slave revolt, which was stoked by the Haitian Revolution

    When Haiti began to overthrow the French colonial masters and were seizing that country for themselves, when Blacks were seizing that country for themselves, the violence of the Haitian Revolution, the existence of the Haitian Revolution, just sent basically an earthquake of fear throughout the United States. You had George Washington lamenting the violence. You had Thomas Jefferson talking about [how] he was fearful that those ideas over there, if they get here, it’s going to be fire. You had James Madison worried. …

    Whites … were fleeing Haiti and were bringing their enslaved populations with them, their enslaved people with them. … [There was a fear that] the ideas that these Black Haitians would have, that somehow those ideas of revolution, those ideas of racial justice, those ideas of freedom and democracy would just metastasize throughout Virginia’s Black enslaved population and cause a revolt. You had that same fear coming out of Baltimore that then began to open up the public armory to whites, saying, “You are justified in being armed because they’re bringing too many of these Black Haitians, these enslaved Haitians, up here who have these ideas that Black people can be free.”

      • You should be in Sturgis with the rest of your covid spreader Morons. Why post on a forum that is way over your head.

        • I’m taking your mother there later today. She’s got to earn money and make amends for not having an abortion.

        • Sturgis?

          Should we go there after……The Obama’s Maria Antoinette Spectacular Super Spreader Birthday (From Kenya To The U.S.) Event?


        • quote—————-Sturgis?

          Should we go there after……The Obama’s Maria Antoinette Spectacular Super Spreader Birthday (From Kenya To The U.S.) Event?————————–quote

          Your post is hilarious trying to compare 700,000 Morons at Sturgis to one man’s birthday party but hey it was in a foreign country that makes the xenophobic, bigoted Far Right foam at the mouth. Our covid infections now are the highest in the world and your screaming about 1 man in Africa.

    • My little dacie daisy, are you reading those racist, Nazi books again?

      First Mein Kampf, and now this?

      Aren’t you fascist enough?

  28. Friends, Romans and Berserkers…

    “Constitutional Carry” is not. “Constitutional Carry” is simply legislation, easily overturned. What government giveth, government can taketh away. “Permitless Carry” might be a more accurate term, but it is still government-granted permission; still simple legislation. Why do we persist with the idea that if the US Constitution is not sufficient authority/protection to keep and bear arms, state-by-state legislation will do the trick?

    • Actually we Socialists fully realize that State by State legislation has been a total failure in gun control. This is why Federal laws are needed in regards to Universal Background Checks and safe storage laws. States with lax laws have long funneled in thousands of second hand guns into States and cities with tough laws making all State laws ineffective.

      And the courts long ago have declared that it is “they” that grant gun rights not the Constitution as they have consistently and totally ignored 2A, their sordid history proves it beyond all doubt.

      • You’re not a socialist. You’re a fascist. I know there isn’t a cunt hair’s difference between them, but it still pays to use the correct title.

        • You would not know the difference between a socialist and fascist if someone stuck that big nose of yours into a dictionary. Give us all a break and take your motorcycle to Sturgis for the super spreader event. Maybe you will get lucky there.

        • You’re the one that needs learning, boy. You’re a fascist. You even claim to be part of the brown shirts that were looting and burning minority owned businesses recently. You and your jack booted buddies have done far more damage to the minority community than I ever could.

  29. One must also remember that if it had not been for the ill-connived American Revolution the Colonies would have remained under British rule and slavery in the Colonies would have ended years earlier. Today the Far Right will not acknowledge that fact nor do they care either because its not in their jackbooted racist philosophy.

  30. I object to the National Guard references. The National Guard ceases to be State’s Militias once they were Federalized and subject to the Federal Military requirements. That is not what Madison and crew intent in the 2nd Amendment. The Militia means the individual populace, not a standing force subject to Federal authority.

    Stop calling the National Guatd the “Militia.:

  31. While I would have written it differently, the language of The Second Amendment is adequately clear to anyone with a secure grasp of the English language, and some familiarity with 18th century usage as per the following. Well Regulated meant properly maintained. It did not mean all bound up in red tape or bureaucratic nonsense.

  32. In the language of the times, “Well regulated” can refer to being armed and accoutered- having the stuff- including firearms- to go on duty and report in a very short time. Some were called “Minute Men” for their ability to be ready “right now!” “Regulated” at that time didnt necessarily mean “trained and lined out in military formation”. In fact as we know from British accounts at the time, the Colonials fought like Indians- sniping from behind trees and rocks or from buildings… fighting as “irregulars” as opposed to European style soldiers in ordered lines and enrolled troops. This changed as the War For Independence dragged on and the French, notably Marquis de Lafayette- and other foreign soldiers- came to assist the war against the British. Still the Framers remembered the value of an armed populace- and wrote the Second Amendment to enforce if necessary, the First Amendment, quote-
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
    The “militia” was and is defined simply as “the armed body of the People” not already in military service. This is NOT the National Guard, which is an organised military body under control of the government.

  33. Heller determined the 2A to be an individual right; affirmed in McDonald.
    Any argument otherwise in this day and age is disingenuous.

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