Corey Brettschneider (courtesy
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War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. You may recognize these declarations from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. A modern-day news org based in Mr. Orwell’s native land — The Guardian — puts a modern twist on the author’s prophetic pronouncements with Why the real defenders of the second amendment oppose the NRA . . .

In 1991, former Chief Justice Warren Burger, a Republican appointee, explained why the text of the Second Amendment affirms the importance of gun regulation. The first words of the amendment, Burger pointed out, are “a well regulated Militia.”

This language presupposes the idea that the militias should be regulated. So, Burger reasoned, if the amendment rests on the assumption that well-trained state armies could be regulated, then it is sensible to think it also allows Congress to regulate guns among the general citizenry.

Corey Brettschneider (above) is treading on familiar ground. He joins fellow antis in asking readers to impose a modern interpretation on the phrase “well-regulated.” At the time it was written, “well-regulated” meant in good working order, not subject to government regulation.

Why would it? The idea that the government could regulate (in the modern sense) a militia (an ad hoc group of armed citizens not a standing army) flies in the face of the entire point of the Second Amendment.

A widely reprinted article by Tench Coxe, an ally and correspondent of James Madison, described the Second Amendment’s overriding goal as a check upon the national government’s standing army:

“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”

It can’t be stressed enough: the Founding Fathers enacted the Second Amendment to give The People the ability to resist government tyranny by force of arms.

Not so, according to the Brown University Poli Sci prof. Mr. Brettschneider reckons the Constitution was designed to enable tyranny. Although that’s not exactly how he puts it:

The constitutional argument for gun regulation also goes beyond the Second Amendment. The Constitution’s preamble speaks of the need to “insure domestic Tranquility”—a fundamental task of any government that can be aided by regulating deadly weapons.

The recent tragedy in Florida—merely the newest in a line of one numbing bloodbath after another, a crisis that no other developed country on earth suffers from—has made it clear that our schools, hospitals, and military are anything but tranquil. In places where they once would have thought themselves safe, citizens fear another attack.

Question: what couldn’t the government regulate under the banner of “insuring domestic tranquility”? Stop me from posting this fisking? Penalize you for reading it? That and much, much more. Anything really.

Mr. Brettschneider ends his dietribe [sic] by slagging off the NRA as Constitutionally illiterate paranoid fantasists. And singing the praises of the teenage ignorami clamoring for the removal of their civil rights.

If LaPierre believes that all those supporting gun regulation are part of this deep state conspiracy, then the heavily conservative supreme court must be included as well. They’ve clearly upheld the kind of legislation being considered right now in Congress, but no one could plausibly claim that Republican appointed Justice Alito or Chief Justice Roberts is out to confiscate Americans’ firearms.

Fortunately, the NRA narrative is being challenged. The brave students of Stoneman Douglas are the fiercest opponents the NRA has seen in some time. In defending sensible gun regulation, they, not their opportunistic opponents, are the ones truly standing up for the constitution and the second amendment.

Being this wrong about our Constitutionally protected gun rights requires both major league mental gymnastics and a steadfast refusal to research the subject in question.

Parents paying $65,380 per year to educate their children at Brown University: rest assured that Professor Brettschneider is helping them master those skills. The rest of us should be relieved our children don’t go to Brown.  

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  1. My son passed on Brown after we visited. Attends Stonehill College, a fabulous conservative Catholic school.

  2. Claiming the NRA is responsible for shootings is like claiming the AAA car club is responsible for people killed by drunk drivers, one has nothing to do with the other, and I’m tired of it. Its time to recognize that tactic for what it is, and there needs to be more pushback against that strategy from the other side.

  3. From the title alone, they’re not wrong. The NRA hasn’t done a lot to help defend anything. They support laws so they can turn around and “defend against them” or “repeal” them. The only way to do that is to “donate” and “join”.

    Seems like a big money making operation, and their are plenty of 2A supporters who hold the same sentiments I do towards the NRA, and are actually no compromise and clear supporters.

      • I have posted requests here and elsewhere asking for a contact list of those in the NRA organization.

        It’s impossible to put their feet to fire if we can’t get in touch with them.

        • If you are a member of the NRA, it is on the back of your membership card. NRA-ILA is 800-392-8683 or, where there is a contact form.

          However, I filled out the contact form early last week with a bit of a rant on the EPROs and I asked to have someone call me. So far……………

    • The NRA does one thing very well. They are a bomb magnet for all the misplaced hate and blame for the wrongs of today’s society.

    • If the NRA was doing such a bad job, then why would the left spend so much time and money trying to convince you to reject the NRA like you are doing in your post? The left must believe that the NRA is a big threat to their agenda and the left must believe you are gullible enough to be an unwitting accomplice.

      Sorry, but that needed to be said.

      • False opposition. The NRA as an organization has proven time and again throughout its history to be willing to “compromise” with the disarmament forces. If you want a no compromise organization look at GOA. The left doesn’t talk about GOA as much because they don’t want to swell their membership.

    • So Jon. What have you done personally to foster our civil rights? Donate anything to another organization you think more worthwhile? Talk to a legislator face to face? Have you written a letter? What have you done?

  4. As someone who got a Poli Sci degree from a rather nice, private university it constantly amazes me how many people who hold a PhD in the subject appear to have never bothered to read the Constitution or seriously study it.

    Sure, opinions on the topics vary quite a bit but to suggest that part of the Constitution’s preamble is an open invite for gun control is absurd to the point of being laughable. It defies logic, assumes that parts of the document overrule other parts and requires that one not bother to read the rest of the document.

    Ah well, I had a number of professors like this. Some would say they’re annoying and bothersome. I would say they’re boring but somewhat dangerous to their students.

    • Gee my own brother holds a doctorate. And he’s solidly pro-gun. I don’t paint everyone with a broad brush. Many so-called intellectuals live in an academic bubble of idiocy. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools…

      • I’m not really sure how I painted with a broad brush there simply by noting that a number of Poli Sci profs don’t know much about the Constitution.

      • Actually, they’re progressives. Their worldview dismisses the Constitution and Bill of Rights—and, thus, the right to keep and bear arms—as irrelevant to “modern society”. This is why progressive gun-controllers are always so incredulous when we laugh at them when they tell us the 2nd amendment only applies to muzzle-loading flintlocks and not AR15’s .

  5. Last time I checked, the 2nd amendment was written so that we could shoot the very people writing for the Guardian… or at least their red-coated lapdogs.

  6. I’ll see your progressive Brit and raise your a Constitutional scholar. Note: “disarm the people”

    (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule [ie: Lexington and Concord expeditions]. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.

  7. Corey Brettschneider should read and study a fine and authoritative reference from his own country: the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s entry for “regulate,” including a few cited quotations:

    regulate, v.

    2.2 To adjust, in respect of time, quantity, force, etc., with reference to some standard or purpose; esp. to adjust (a clock or other machine) so that the working may be accurate.

    1750 tr. Leonardus’ Mirr. Stones 33 The heat should be proportioned and regulated by the mineral or effective virtue of the stone itself.    1800 tr. Lagrange’s Chem. II. 50 Care must be taken to regulate the fire properly.    1812–16 Playfair Nat. Phil. (1819) II. 107 Clocks ought to be regulated by the mean solar time.

    I have seen the word “regulate” in older sources used to describe the procedure of adjusting a double-barreled shotgun so that patterns from both barrels are coincident for the same point of aim.

    • Justice Scalia in Heller has an extensive discussion of what “well regulated” mean in the context of the Second Amendment, and what it means is “well trained.” In that day and age, armies and militias marched and fought in close formation, organized attacks or defense in double lines, and fired in volleys, with each step in the processes involved “regulated” by sergeants and officers. Troops that were not “well regulated” were little more than a mob, and thus not an effective fighting force.

      In context, the prefatory clause is a recognition that in order to have a well trained militia, the right of the people to keep and bear private arms (as all militias were armed with privately owned weapons) could not be infringed. Without arms, it would not be a militia at all.

      • In context, the prefatory clause is a recognition that in order to have a well trained militia, the right of the people to keep and bear private arms (as all militias were armed with privately owned weapons) could not be infringed. Without arms, it would not be a militia at all.

        All wrong. The Bill of Rights neither grants nor limits the rights of the People in any way. It does not grant Government anything either. It is nothing but a limit upon Government. You call it a prefatory clause, it is not. A clause implies restriction. There is no restriction whatsoever upon the free exercise of the right of the People to keep and bear arms.

        • Not to mention that they get the basics wrong right from the get go. It’s NOT a “well trained” militia, that’s a corruption they inserted in there. The word “train” never appears in the 2A, in any form. Training CANNOT apply to the militia, which, as opposed to a standing(and trained) army, is only the bulk of the people just showing up to help, spontaneously and voluntarily, in a crisis.
          Since the militia just shows up in time of need, it is obviously not possible for any organization to train and equip them, there simply isn’t time for that.
          They just show up and take to the trenches, or whatever other fortifications they can devise. Once the militia is understood for what it is, AND for what it is NOT, all the stupidity falls away. NATURALLY they must show up with their own equipment, there is no other way. If they are previously hired, trained, and equipped, then they would be a standing army and NOT a militia.

        • “All wrong. The Bill of Rights neither grants nor limits the rights of the People in any way. ”

          Mark N. didn’t write that the Bill of Rights did. Not sure how you’re picking that up from what he wrote.

          “You call it a prefatory clause, it is not.”

          It is in the grammatical sense, aka a dependent clause.

          The “well regulated … being necessary to the security…” part is a dependent clause that cannot stand on its own as a full and complete sentence. It lacks a verb and an object.

          Perhaps more importantly, the independent clause, “the right of the people 2KB&A, shall not be infringed,” is a full and complete thought that stands alone. Which leaves the anti’s attempts at restricting the right only to some preferred ‘militia’ unsupported by the plain text.

          “A clause implies restriction.”

          Again, his was a grammatical point. A clause is a simply a part of a sentence. It doesn’t impart a restriction any more than a similie or a parenthesis, (“being necessary to the security of a free state”) does.

          Ultimately if you engage anti’s in a discussion of the actual text, it is important to precisely diagram the amendment. Once you do, there is only one clear meaning that can be had.

    • That is an excellent point, Alan.

      What may be helpful in getting people to understand what words meant at the time they were written, has anyone done a deep dive into a 1700’s era dictionary to find words that mean nothing like what they mean today?

      That could be very helpful in convincing the fence-sitters that the Leftists have been lying to them…

      • Do you really think facts will convince the left to change? It hasn’t really worked so far.

        • Why worry about trying to convince “the left” to change? 50 years from now there will still be people opposed to individuals wanting to control their own destinies in the US. That wil always be debated. The real issue is whether or not our kids and grandkids will enjoy the same rights and liberties we have today.

          The “left” is a small portion of the American political spectrum, and minus the MSM it is about the same percentage of people as the “right”. Both sides have to try to sell their goods to the middle, which is larger than either and is becoming even larger as the extremes on both sides ramp up their rhetoric. Constitutionalist still have the upper hand because we own the written language at present.

          As Coxe alluded, it was recognized in the day that our Creator allowed citizens the right to arms so that the militia could be regulated (controlled) by the masses if ever tyrrany was attempted. It is the government’s army that is being regulated, not the citizens. Easy to read, easy to understand.

          Those who opine that NRA has done nothing/little to maintain our God-given right/responsibility need to start listing the major accomplishments of the little yapping “no compromise” organizations run by Brown, Pratt and others.

          As for the members of the NRA “organization”, the elected Board members, as well as salaried officers and officials can easily be gotten from NRA publications. Of course, you probably don’t get those because you never spent the $30 to join…

          There are 76 NRA Directors (Board members) elected by the membership. Term runs 3 years and 25 are elected each year by the members with one Board member (the “76th”) being elected by the attendees at the annual meetings. If you think you have such great ideas, why don’t you join NRA and run for the Board? NRA has 5.4 or so million members but usually it only takes 40K votes or so to end up on the Board. Your big opportunity, but like everything else, you’ll have to convince people you know what’s better for them than they do. Good luck. Seriously.

      • Not necessary. Take the amendment and the meaning in context.

        Take “well regulated militia…” and “shall not be infringed…”

        If “shall not be infringed” is the operative phrase, then ‘regulated’ cannot mean administratively restricted, curbed, or metered.

        It would be contradictory.

        Further, if ‘well regulated,’ meant administratively managed and simultaneously explicitly connected to ‘the people,’ how much of a free state would we have?

  8. Are these commentators and professors really suggesting that a bunch of barely educated high school students have a better and deeper understanding of the Second Amendment that the entirety of the United States Supreme Court, ALL of whom recognized that the Second Amendment guarantees a personal, individual right, not a collective right? That the majority opinion that “well regulated” does not mean “subject to regulation” as they suppose? How on earth could they come to such a nonsensical conclusion?

    • They simply use whatever mental and literary gymnastics are necessary to conclude that people who agree with them are right and everyone else is either evil or an idiot.

      I hardly think it is correct to state that the entirety of the Supreme Court agrees that the right to keep and bear arms is a personal, not collective right, but even if they do, at least four and a half of them are not willing for personal or political reasons to state that or vote in favor of it when the issue comes before the court. And in the dissent to Heller the four opposing votes went far out of their way to claim otherwise and insist that the prefatory clause about the militia was the MOST IMPORTANT part of the amendment.

      We have much to thank Chief Justice Scalia for regarding explanations and rulings on the Second Amendment, but in the Heller decision he did us no favors by including the opinion that in spite of the absolute meaning of “…shall not be infringed.” the federal government still had the authority to regulate what sort of arms the people have the right to keep and bear.

      I anxiously await the appointment of at least one more conservative to give the SCOTUS a firm 5/4 majority and see what true Conservative Constitutional scholars can do to correct 227 years of neglect and partisan rulings regarding this most important natural right.

  9. Actually, the Bill of Rights only applies and gives freedom to the government. Serfs have no rights.
    1A makes sure only state sponsored media and religion exist.

  10. We should have left the Europeans to Hitler and Stalin. They seem to have an affinity for subjugation. It still boggles my mind we still have Americans on that continent, baby sitting these people. The next time they invite us to die in one of their conflicts we need to take a hard pass.

  11. The Bill of Rights neither grants nor limits the pre-existing rights of the People in any, nor does it grant Government the ability to infringe upon the free exercise of our rights. Any discussion about “A well regulated militia” being a qualifier for the right of the People is absurd. The only proper meaning of this phrase is that it is A reason, not THE reason, the founders wished to enumerate the right of the People to keep and bear arms. In Miller v. US (1939) SCOTUS acknowledged that this phrase specifically protected the right of the People to keep and bear arms in ordinary modern military use. Though they (incorrectly) assumed that short barrel shotguns were not in ordinary military use and therefore upheld the 1934 NFA ban of them, it was that very logic which automatically invalidates the restrictions upon the Peoples right to keep and bear machine guns. This simply has not been brought up and challenged. We the People have been our own worst enemy in the infringement upon our rights by Government.

  12. “This language presupposes the idea that the militias should be regulated. So, Burger reasoned, if the amendment rests on the assumption that well-trained state armies…”

    Except every other amendment in the Bill of Rights was an explicit guarantee of individual liberties against government intrusion, particularly federal intrusion. The idea that the 2nd is there to give the federal state broad regulatory powers over our natural right of self-defense just flies in the face of that philosophy. I don’t buy it.

  13. If you read the 2nd Paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, it’s impossible to believe that our Founding Fathers and the “Framers” thought that it would be logical for anyone to ask their government, that they intended to replace, for the permission to obtain the means (arms) to do so.

    Anti-gun lovers would love to goad you into letting them play ‘founding fathers’ on the Constitutional re-write, because the are un-American and anti-American (D)1<Kbags. And they all need to go.

    There's nothing wrong with the Constitution, JUST THE FUCKING DICKS READING IT.

    Let's go, it's getting late MFs.

  14. The UK can’t even guarantee freedom of speech or protect their young girls from sex slavery. They are regulating butter knives and we are supposed to take lessons from them about the 2nd amendment? Successful civilizations should do the opposite of what those weak, spineless cucks do.

  15. Actually the Founders did believe the federal government could “regulate” the militia, but for the purpose of ensuring its effectiveness in defending the country, not for the purpose of eliminating it.

    “The Militia Acts of 1792 were a pair of statutes enacted by the second United States Congress in 1792. The acts provided for the organization of the state militias and provided for the President of the United States to take command of the state militias in times of imminent invasion or insurrection. This authority was used to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.”

    “Militia members, referred to as “every citizen, so enrolled and notified”, “…shall within six months thereafter, provide himself…” 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, ¼ pound of gunpowder, 20 rifle balls, a shooting pouch, and a knapsack.[5] Some occupations were exempt, such as congressmen, stagecoach drivers, and ferryboatmen.”

    So following the Founders’ lead, modern regulation of the militia might require every citizen to have an AR-15, 6 30-round magazines, 180 rounds of 5.56 NATO, a cleaning kit, load bearing equipment, and a backpack.

  16. I take the term “militia” to mean just about the same thing a “posse” in the old West(or at least in the movies). A group of men who are neighbors with a mission to get rid of(or arrest) a troublemaker. That could be 2 legged or 4 legged. At the time the BOR was written, their might be a justice of the peace or equivalent in town, but out in the country, the people were on their own.
    Hiring peace keepers through local governments(or depending on a marshal) helped the people feel safe and gave them someone to guide the posse when hunting a lawbreaker, but did NOT keep the men from banding together to hunt predator animals or put the occasional carpet bagger in his place.

  17. For some reason the GOOGLES put The Guardian article in my newsfeed. Started laughing hysterically when I read the part about the TRUE DEFENDERS OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT. To be honest, not even The Onion makes me laugh that way. What BS.

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