Why Does the Second Amendment Refer to “The People”?

Second Amendment 2nd

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By MarkPA

Madison’s draft of the Second Amendment declares that “the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.  He could have left out “of the People” without loss of meaning if he intended to guarantee that natural right to all. Alternatively, he could have defined the class of protected persons with some other term.  For example, the Third Amendment pertains to “the Owner”.  The Fifth Amendment reads “No person . . . “ The Sixth Amendment refers to “the accused”.

Consistency in constitutional interpretation precludes assuming any word to be happenstance. And, of course, the ratifying generation accepted this limitation of right to “the People”.  Regardless of whatever might have been on anyone’s mind in the 18th century, the Second Amendment was written and ratified with this constraint which we may not sweep under the rug.

Today, the debate concerning “the People” is focused on whether the right was intended to be limited to the militia.   Instead, I wonder who Madison and the founding generation understood would be excluded from the class “the People”.  (On occasion, the militia included a few individuals who would not have been construed to be full-fledged members of the political community.)

A 16th century perspective would imply that native Americans would be excluded from the class “the People”.  However, this hypothesis is un-persuasive in that, by the 18th Century, it was clear that a policy of “no guns for Indians” was unnecessary and impractical.  Hostile Indians had been driven far from territories well populated by colonists.

Belligerent Indians on the frontier were being supplied with arms by French and other traders beyond the control of the English colonies.  A 19th century perspective would imply that slaves and free blacks might  be excluded from “the People”.  While obviously true, it’s difficult to imagine that this consideration was high in the founders’ minds.  Slaves were under the absolute control of their masters. Few Blacks were free and these were not deemed any threat in the 1780’s.

What was fresh in the minds of the founding generation was the Revolutionary War.  Only 1/3 of the population were thought to have favored independence.  Another 1/3 were indifferent.  The remaining 1/3 were Loyalists and most of them were still around in the 1780’s.  Revolutionaries disarmed Loyalists without the slightest compunction.

The hypothesis in this essay is that the right to arms was reserved to “the People” to preserve the majority’s power to disarm any who might not be loyal to the Constitution. This seems plausible for a federal government intent upon preserving and defending the Constitution.  It seems incongruous to believe that the founding generation intended to allow an ambitious government to undermine the Constitution by disarming the People who ordained and established that document.

Today, as in the early 20th Century, there is a struggle for power between Progressives and Conservatives on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Control over our government shifts back and forth, or so it seems to partisans in the struggle.  What is objective fact and what is perception is difficult to discern in politics.  But it is clear that perception drives sentiment.

According to the Marbury v. Madison doctrine of Constitutional interpretation, the advocate able to persuade a majority of a Court’s justices prevails in the debate.  Imagine if Conservatives captured a majority of seats on the Supreme Court, along with both houses of Congress and the White House. The question might arise as to the Constitutionality of a law disarming seditious inhabitants of the United States.

Judges might be authorized to ask suspects: “Are you now, or ever been, a member of any Radical organization?”  And, thereupon, issue an Extreme Risk Confiscation Order stripping any such suspect of his arms. Would Progressives be happy that a tool they wanted to use for their ends turned into a means Conservatives could use against them?

Such was the problem faced by abolitionists and Republicans before and after the Civil War.  Supporters of Southern interests sought to outlaw concealed carry, or any carry for that matter, in part to prevent free blacks and political opponents from being able to defend themselves against extra-legal violence.

As Karl Marx wisely implored his readers, “the workers must be armed and organized. The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed.” Likewise, Chairman Mao declared: “Political power emerges from the barrel of a gun.”  

To return to contemporary usage, progressives, as well as communists and democratic socialists, see their political-economic visions as the inevitable course of history. Nevertheless, the dialectical ebb and flow of political power causes the “inevitable” to be reversed at times. Those committed to gun control advocacy should bear in mind that it is not inevitable that they will always be in control.

When Conservatives hold power, the interpretation of “the People” in the Second Amendment could shift the balance of power against Progressive objectives. Once accomplished, history shows that such change is not easily reversed.

The only policy that would be intrinsically resistant to power struggles among factions seeking to rule over an unarmed majority would be universal arms ownership, as is mostly the practice in America, Switzerland and Israel. In reverse order, Israel has near universal conscription of both men and women. While off-duty, those in service often carry their arms. After completing service, they are often licensed to carry government-owned arms.

Switzerland has universal male conscription with a long period of reserve status. After military service is completed, veterans are permitted to keep their rifles. And, of course, in America we take the “right to keep and bear arms” as a badge of citizenship. Some judicial or quasi-judicial act is prerequisite to losing this right.

There is an important distinction between rights and privileges. A right is held generally by members of a class, e.g., citizens inhabiting a state enjoy the right to vote. A privilege is granted to specific individuals.

The line between a right and a privilege is often obscure. A privilege is often identifiable by the prerequisite of a license in the form of a certificate. Even so, the right to vote has traditionally been evidenced by a voter registration card. We speak of the privilege of operating a motor vehicle on public roads as evidenced by a driver’s license.

We can say with a high degree of confidence that holding a “right”, like the Second Amendment assures, precludes most tests or qualifications prerequisite to lawfully keeping and bearing arms. Constitutionally, one could be obliged to evidence membership in the class “the People” (however that broad term is defined).

For example, one could be obliged to evidence having reached the age of majority, whether that might be defined as 16, 18 or 21. But on meeting the definition, one should enjoy the “the right” of “the People” without additional tests.

A citizen may be “dis-abled” of a right by law upon conviction of certain crimes or if adjudicated incompetent.  Any such act of government must be held to strict standards of legal due process.  We would not find it acceptable to strip an adult citizen of either the right to vote or to keep and bear arms based on a conviction for jay-walking or having an IQ below 123.  We must be concerned with the propensity of government to excessively limit the standards for exercising the rights of citizenship.

People with felony convictions account for 8% of the population, that is, one-twelfth of “the People” can be denied their rights to vote or keep arms on this criterion of disablement. That figure is small enough, and for a generally accepted reason, not to be alarming.

However, 33% of Black males are felons. What if those convicted of misdemeanors subject to sentences of two or more years in jail and domestic violence crimes were added to that figure? The fraction of disabled members of this minority group might exceed 40%.

When should we begin to wonder whether this minority constituency would become unfairly deprived of their sovereign rights? As Thomas Jefferson put it:

[W]henever 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.

The foregoing may illuminate some of the implications of the Second Amendment’s reference to “the People”.  It should be out of the question for rights, such as to keep and bear arms, to be limited to arbitrary sub-classes such as those formally enrolled in state militias, sworn police officers, those privately employed in protecting the wealthy, or those who are left-handed.

The Supreme Court held in Heller v. D.C. that “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” Thus, the only truly politically correct approach to Second Amendment rights is near universal, even-handed, natural qualification with very limited exceptions. That requires, essentially, a “shall-issue” approach to the right of all qualified Americans to keep and bear arms.  

 

‘MarkPA’  is trained in economics, a life-long gun owner, NRA Instructor and Massad Ayoob graduate. He is inspired by our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and holds that having the means to defend oneself and one’s community is vital to securing them.

This post originally appeared at drgo.us and is reprinted here with permission. 

comments

  1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    “Only 1/3 of the population were thought to have favored independence. Another 1/3 were indifferent. The remaining 1/3 were Loyalists and most of them were still around in the 1780’s. Revolutionaries disarmed Loyalists without the slightest compunction.”

    …and, there you go. Look at the overall ‘tone’ of the voices on the political Left. Those on the Right are ‘extremist’, one might even say ‘disloyal’ to the America the Leftists wish they had.

    So, of course, you don’t allow allow those disloyal to to the idea of the ‘Progressive American Utopia’ you are fighting so hard for to be armed.

    No, sir, they must be disarmed “without the slightest compunction”.

    To a committed Leftist, the ends always justify the means. That delicious omelette they desire so much doesn’t get made without a few eggs being broken.

    I don’t know about you, but I fully intend to keep my ‘shell’ intact…

  2. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    Because it just wouldn’t sound right “Those people”, t

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Or, “You Possums”, for that matter… 🙂

      1. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

        One of the burdens of being a superior species I suppose.

        1. avatar Imayeti says:

          Those people over there probably would take up too much space.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      Sorry dude. Possums was never once mentioned in any of those documents writ by the founding fathers. Not once. Possums gots no rights. Sucks, but there it is.

      1. avatar Pg2 says:

        Good point. And neither were communities, or “herds” mentioned. But indivuals are mentioned Bill of Rights.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Still shilling for big pharma, I see.

        2. avatar Pg2 says:

          You’re either drunk or an idiot.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          pg, nobody can be as stupid, pig headed, boorish, clueless…….as you pretend to be. The only logical conclusion is you are an agent provoctateur placed here by big pharma to make anti vaxxers look like you appear. And you’re doing a marvelous job. You’ve not converted a single person here to your ’cause’ and no doubt you’ve driven some folks to be pro vaccine.

          Congratulations, you’ve earned your 30 pieces of silver.

        4. avatar Pg2 says:

          Drunk and stupid are not mutually exclusive, you’re likely both.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          I notice you don’t bother to deny that you’re a big pharma shill. pg. Only thing you could be. That or the most ignorant human that ever lived.

        6. avatar Pg2 says:

          Lol, I’m not a pharma shill. I’ve been called many things online, nothing ever as stupid as a pharma shill. Notice you haven’t denied being stupid and drunk. See how that works?

        7. avatar jwm says:

          If you’re not being paid to make anti vaxxers look bad, because that is what you’re doing then you are what is known as a ‘useful idiot’.

          I don’t drink and I’m certainly not so stupid as to think a gun sight is the appropriate place to discuss your fixation, whether it’s natural or bought and paid for, about vaccines.

          If you are honestly as stupid as you sound and not just a paid troll I’ll try once more to spell it out for you.

          You have done more to damage the cause of anti vaxxers than all of big pharma combined. You. Single handed. If you honestly believe in being anti vaccine then you need to do a bit of soul searching and maybe consider changing your tactics and style.

          But you won’t. You can’t. You’re being paid to be an over bearing asshole.

        8. avatar Pg2 says:

          Considering your IQ, everything you just posted is a compliment. I’m not here to change minds or convince anyone of anything. Only a fool would post online under those pretenses. I enjoy pointing out the hypocrisy and stupidity of people like yourself.

        9. avatar jwm says:

          So, if you’re an anti vaxxer as you claim your story is that you are being deliberately obnoxious, a troll if you will and identifying yourself as an anti vaxxer because……only possibly 2 reasons. You’re too stupid to realize you’re damaging your sworn cause. Or you’re being paid to make anti vaxxers look bad.

          If you’re actually a true anti vaxxer then big pharma is happy that you’re in the world.

        10. avatar Pg2 says:

          “Sworn cause”….funny 💩. Lay off the booze and HBO.

        11. avatar jwm says:

          Thanks for proving my point. Big Pharma Troll.

    3. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Chin up!

      A whole town/community down the road from me……just for your kind. lol

      https://www.facebook.com/PossumKingdomSC/

      1. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

        Yee gads, they’ve discovered my hidey hole, damn u Facebook

        1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

          Remember, separate but equal is not equal. I’m afraid you’ll have to integrate.

  3. avatar Nanashi says:

    “That figure is small enough, and for a generally accepted reason, not to be alarming.”

    Funny you mention this right after trying to justify the (illegal) disarmament of “minors”. Combined these figures can, depending on the year, reach in excess of 30%.

    The founders in no way supported disarming felons, after all that’s what Great Britain considered them. They also didn’t support disarming “minors”. To argue minors aren’t “the people” means they don’t have free speech (a claim the Supreme Court has smashed repeatedly) and can be enslaved at will. Both claims are absurd.

    Looking at the earlier incarnation of the Second Amendment and its state predecessors, it’s clear the writers INTENTIONALLY did not allow criminal history as a disqualify on the right to keep and bear arms: The earliest known proposal I can find only applied to “peaceable citizens”, limiting it to the non-violent people with citizenship (Remember, historically citizenship hasn’t been an assumption. “Citizens” were a higher class of people: Recall why Paul was given a quick beheading when the rest of the disciples and Christ himself were forced to endure the agony of crucifixion.). It’s clear the change to “the people” was deliberate to include non-citizens, and the removal of “peaceable” was to block prohibitions based on criminal history.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Prior to 1934 in the NFA ,further enhanced in 1968 GCA,Felons upon release,having paid their debt to society ams were returned to them as they once again had full citizenship rights.

  4. avatar Mark N. says:

    The Preamble to the Constitution states: WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to from a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.”

    This preamble makes it abundantly clear what was meant by the People. The People the whole of the people in their sovereign capacity, the sovereign that created and ratified the federal government. Thus the People, as Sovereign (a recognition that has fallen into iniquity) have the right to maintain arms, and the federal government (and now state governments as well after McDonald) have no power to restrict that right. Easy peasy. The only arguable limitation on the scope of “The People” is that the Constitution was ratified by popular vote, so it could reasonably be argued that the People are those residents of the United States who have the right to vote.

    The only other caveat is that the Constitution recognizes separate State sovereignty. After all, the States also preceded the federal government, and that they had such powers is explicitly recognized by the Eleventh Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The powers delegated to the Congress are laid out in Article I, sections 7 through 9.The powers of the President are set out in Article II section 2. The governments’s greatest power, however, is that the Constitution and the laws of the Untied States are the supreme law of the land–at least to the extent that the laws do not violate the Constitution..

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “This preamble makes it abundantly clear what was meant by the People.”

      And nowhere else in writing from that era does “the People” _not_ mean all of the people.

      And yet, for some strange reason, according to the Leftists, “the People” referenced in the 2A only means those people directly considered to be the organized Militia, carrying out government orders…

    2. avatar Joe in NC says:

      That’s the 10th amendment. Typo?

  5. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Great article, but preaching to the choir. Even if we could force Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein and their minions to read it, it wouldn’t make one bit of difference. They will continue to march in lockstep. I really believe the answer is for our 1/3 and recruit the indifferent 1/3. I know I’ve brought hundreds into the fold. Most through an introduction to shooting. Some as an aside to hunting.

  6. avatar HellBilly says:

    “Switzerland has universal male conscription with a long period of reserve status. After military service is completed, veterans are permitted to keep their rifles“.

    Not anymore.

    1. avatar Arc says:

      Ammo is also locked up.

  7. avatar Thinker1 says:

    Is there a point in there somewhere?

    1. avatar Geoff "It's always good to turn a troll into a fun punch-toy" PR says:

      That ‘Woosh’ sound was it going right over your head…

    2. avatar tfunk says:

      Yeah, my first thought was “WTF am I reading?”

  8. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    The “People refers to the national population. The Second Amendment is written as the people, small p, which indicates people as in persons, individuals!! The preamble uses the phrase The People, capital P, referring to the People of the United States, the whole populace. When you carefully read the Declaration of Independence and the whole Constitution you will discover that emphasis is indicated by capitalization. Once that is understood much of the argument that the 2nd refers to a collective right is moot. One does not need to get much more detailed or esoteric to establish that but if one needs more indication to refer to Wednesday, September 9, 1789, when the Senate in debate and discussion of what became the Second Amendment voted in the NEGATIVE, meaning NAY to insert the words “for the common defense” after the words “to bear arm”. It seems that no one on the left has done any deep research or read reprints of newspapers of the period or read the Federalists or the Anti-Federalists, including a couple of SCOTUS Justices who offered dissenting opinions on Heller.

  9. avatar Darkman says:

    The use of the term “The People” allows for a clear distinction between Citizens and Government. The Founders knowing full well that Governments can be corrupted and become authoritarian. Brought forth the Bill of Rights. To proclaim those Rights that Government. Any Government (local,state or federal) could not take from The People. It also entrusted The People with not only the Right but also the Duty to remove any form of Government that attempted to take those Rights. By Any Means Necessary. As clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence. Keep Your Powder Dry.

  10. avatar barnbwt says:

    I’d argue it is highly dishonest to view the founders’/ratifiers’ intentions through the lens of what they did…

    1. avatar Darkman says:

      Having spent most likely more years than you have been alive. Reading and researching the Founders and their intentions for this nation. I understand the ideals they set forth to accomplish. They left The People with a framework and path for Freedom. They also left the People with the responsibility to nurture and safeguard both. The one thing they couldn’t do was hold the People’s hand through eternity. To guarantee and safeguard the Freedoms. They entrusted to the People. That has been the failure of the People. Yes all the People. We have become lazy and petulant. Expecting other People to do the work. They feel is beneath them. Just like all children who have always had things given to them. They have no respect for the hard work of others. That allows them to enjoy those gifts. It sorrows me to see how this nation has fallen. Their is still a chance Freedom can survive. The question is. Will it survive without bloodshed? Keep Your Powder Dry.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “They left The People with a framework and path for Freedom. They also left the People with the responsibility to nurture and safeguard both.”

        Was it Adams or Franklin who was reputed to have said : “A Republic, if you can keep it.”?

        So, it’s clear that the Republic we have can be kept the same way we were told we could keep our doctors and insurance plans by Obama…

        1. avatar Darkman says:

          Unfortunately in some respects you are correct. I had a Government/History teacher (Mr. Hollenberg) in the 70’s. Who warned Us of the things We now see in respect the direction the Nation is going. He claimed the natural progression of the Nation was going to turn to Socialism. Freedom was much to hard to maintain because it required the People to be vigilant and work toward a common goal. While on the other hand Socialism was the shiny ornament on the tree that required nothing more than compliance. Even though history has taught us that it has and will always fail. He said that control of the education system would be the key to converting the children to this way of thinking. As We see today with revisionist history being the goal of those on charge. While there are still those of Us who still believe in the Freedoms Our Nation provides, I’m not sure there are enough of Us to fight the march toward Socialism and the destruction of Our Nation. This was started over 50 years ago and the Socialist have been slowly winning. While quietly effecting their goals right under Our disinterested noses. Only since the days of Obama have some of the People begun to realize what is going on. If We are to turn the tide and win the War against the destruction of OUR Nation. It will once again require The Hard Work,Vigilance and Common Goal Mentality. That allowed for the Birth of this Great Nation. As it has taken many decades to reach this point in nation. There are many questions left to be answered.. Will it be another 50 years war to return to the Ideals off Freedom? Will it be a Conflict requiring much Loss and Suffering? or We Will simple stand aside and allow the Freedoms that made this Great nation to wither and die on the Tree of Liberty. Keep Your Powder Dry.

  11. avatar Huntmaster says:

    The 2nd Amendment is one sentence of 27 words. There is a very good reason it is so short and concise. They wanted to make absolutely sure that even people with little or no formal education understood exactly what it meant. The longest word is nine letters. None of the words are outside the scope of a fifth grade vocabulary. Today our most respected lawyers, judges, legislators and legal scholars debate the meaning of the 2nd Amendment if it were some esoteric philosophy. It isn’t. The meaning of the 2nd Amendment is pretty simple and it’s time to stop trying to reconstruct it into something more palatable to the elites.

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      I don’t recall the sources, but the constitution in it’s entirety was meant to be plainly understood by the average English speaker of the time. The framers were very well educated men, and included among them lawyers, statesmen and diplomats. It isn’t an accident that the language of the constitution is so simple and so stark. No word of the document wasn’t intentional or fretted, considered and even argued over. It’s a sad commentary that we have now a significant portion of the population who are either unable to understand plain and simple English, or sufficiently dishonest enough to swear the constitution doesn’t say what it says or mean what it plainly means.

      I know it’s been said many times by many people, but the plain language of the 2A is sufficiently self evident, and well enough interpreted by the SC at this point that anyone who’s sworn an oath to uphold it, while insisting it doesn’t protect a broad general right to arms for the common person is either unfit for office due to cognitive deficits or else in violation of their oath and thus a traitor.

      That thoughts such as above are considered radical in our present time is merely an indication of how far we have strayed, not only from the path the framers set forth, but from common sense, intellectual honesty and recognition of reality.

      Perhaps the most pernicious and destructive effect of modern leftist thought is that it has introduced and propagated the concept that all thought and indeed all reality is subjective, and that differing opinions all carry equal weight. The reality is that some ideas are wrong, some opinions without merit, some positions antithetical to the framers intent and the good standing of the republic.

      There is a time for talk, and a time for action. I fear the time for action is rapidly drawing near. There must be a reckoning, just as the liar is eventually found out by the truth and the psychotic disabused of his delusions by natural law, the traitors among us must eventually be sorted and dealt with.

  12. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    When the Constitution was written blacks an injuns were not part of “We The People” , ironic no

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Yes, they were, but only 3/5’s as much…

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        That is only for the Negro slaves. Indians were not counted because they were not people of the Untied States but instead independent sovereign citizens in their own territories. And in many ways still are. Indian reservations are Indian sovereign territories subject to the laws of the tribe that controls the res.

        1. avatar Huntmaster says:

          All that sovereign territory language doesn’t mean anymore to the states than the second amendment does. It they opened up a gun store on their reservations and started selling without showing fealty and jumping through all the hoops government, state or federal put in their way, how long do you think that would go down. It’s all just a show!

  13. avatar enuf says:

    “The People” are all of us Americans who are not criminal scum.

    “Felony Disenfranchisement” has existed for at least 3000 years. It existed in ancient Mediterranean civilizations, in Medieval Europe, in the Age of Enlightenment, in the American Colonies and in the earliest American States. It is enshrined in some of the earliest State Constitutions. The Supreme Court has upheld the practice as Constitutional.

    Civilization has always been properly intolerant of criminal behavior. Loss of certain rights upon conviction is a natural response to the harm that has been done to The People. Restoration of those rights is just as appropriate if the former criminal scum can show that criminal scummery is no longer their way in life.

    I do disagree with States that automatically restore rights upon completion of a prison sentence. That was a punishment, not a transaction wherein all rights would be restored. That said, reinstatement of rights should be a defined process in State law, clearly communicated to the convict as release from prison approaches. Same deal for Federal convicts.

    1. avatar Jason says:

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain UNALIENABLE Rights…”

      unalienable
      adj. Not to be separated, given away, or taken away; inalienable.
      Inalienable.

      adj. Inalienable.

      There, perhaps that will clear up the confusion you are seemingly having.

      “…shall not be infringed.” – it’s really not that complicated, it means what it says.

      1. avatar Martin B says:

        By that reasoning, it is unlawful to deprive convicted murderers of their firearms while still in prison. Think about that! All of the Founding Fathers were in open rebellion against their lawful sovereign, and therefore guilty of criminal acts by definition. In between these two extremes, there must be some guidance as to whom can be trusted to conform with the rules of society despite being armed with lethal force. Perhaps convicts could be reacquainted with their weapons after a proven period of Probation displaying a reformed character. The United States may be the only country in the world with a legal right to self defense via firearms – this gives pause for thought.

        1. avatar Jason says:

          “By that reasoning, it is unlawful to deprive convicted murderers of their firearms while still in prison.”

          You must think that is so very clever, however it’s not really, not at all in fact. Words have meaning, and not just the meaning that you have decided is convenient at the moment to get what you want. If you don’t like the words, and it is apparent that you don’t, then there is a clearly delineated process for changing them, for amending the constitution. Pretending that words have meanings other than the ones that they actually have, which is to say, the daily practice of most of the legal system currently in place, is the best tool that tyrants have ever had. Weaponizing words is a tactic of of the wicked and is inherently dishonest, and you can see thousands of years of historical records showing us what it has wrought.

          Besides, prisons are a stupid waste of time. They accomplish nothing. If you have done wrong, then you need to make it right. If you can’t, or won’t, then you need to die. Prisons, formerly penitentiaries, from the root word penitent stem from a stupid pseudo Christian belief that people can be MADE to repent, that it can be forced. Ironically, “God’s people” in the Bible, either Hebrew or Christian never had prisons. That has never worked and never will. Prisons and the multi-million dollar hyper-corrupt human caging industry that has sprung up around them need to be swept into the dustbin of useless ideas that never worked.

    2. avatar Mad Max says:

      ““…who are not criminal scum.”

      Do you really have to keep bringing up the Democrats?😊

  14. avatar 10x25mm says:

    The “militia” in the Second Amendment was actually a way of defining what arms were covered: the typical stand of arms used by individual soldiers, and the militia.

    The “people” in the Second Amendment defined whose possession of a stand of arms was protected.

  15. avatar Ronald West says:

    Yes it was made short and clearly to the point that the people is too keep the electioned people inline as to keeping our rights to freedom, if not we the people won’t have any, that’s what the forefathers were referring to.

  16. avatar Sudden Charly says:

    What gives a constitution legs is the trust of the people whom it represents.
    Without that trust it would be meaningless. “We the People” would refer to anybody who adopted this constitution with trust and belief for what it stands for. What constituted citizenship back then other than which side a man fight on?

    1. avatar C.S. says:

      I would argue that it is also about the education of said people. There are plenty of people that would claim to ”believe” in the Constitution but have bought the Leftist “interpretation”.

  17. avatar Ragnar says:


    “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American … The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.”
    — Tench Coxe, 1788.

  18. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Bill of rights are collective rights and only apply to the government and big brother. Big brother should be big bother.

  19. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Patrick Henry had some rather biting views and comments about the federal power system and how later it would unravel and turn into tyranny. I think he was more right than wrong.

  20. avatar Docduracoat says:

    I think we should amend the second amendment.
    We should Remove the first clause.
    “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
    We might even change it to a more modern wording.
    “The right of the people to keep and carry hand held weapons of war shall not be infringed”.
    This keeps it to assault rifles and will include 40 watt plasma rifles when they are invented.
    And sets a limit below multiple launch rockets and nukes.

    1. avatar Biatec says:

      I disagree. It’s not just about hand held weapons. You could buy cannons, puckleguns, warships back then. It should be the same now.

  21. avatar Will Drider says:

    The 2A, hated, revered, a threat or defense, the only Right so embattled!

    What events could lead to a new “Old North Bridge” clash?

    Preceeding April 19th, 1775, Englands tyranny had tentacles choking freedoms, commerce and levied ever increasing taxes. There had been small reprisals against empowered British loyalists by some wishing to lighten their Yoke but that just increased Englands resolve to bring the colonists to heel. The objective of removing firearms, ball and powder, was just a means to eliminate the tools colonists could use for a larger scale revolt and threaten Englands power, resources and revenue.

    Todays social and political environments and gloomy forecast doesn’t bear down as broadly. Envision any form of goverment in Office, doesn’t matter if you support it or not. What matters is if that Governments rises to a level of actions that are adversarial oppression that even prior supporters fear it. A Government would be insane to impose such oppression unless they had the means to retain control and destroy those in opposition. Regardless of the pace of a political plan but knowing the end game requires keeping the citizens in line. Goverment must eliminate any means that civilians could use to mount a strong resistance. As seen throught history, Governments will “lawfully”attempt to disarm the population then forcibly disarm the rest. It’s a precursor to remove the same types of tools/capability (1775) BEFORE the wider imposition of unbearable laws and conditions are tied upon everyones backs. History has proven the effectiveness of these tactics and the short sighted gun grabber lemmings are ignorant of what their harvest will yeild.

    Specifically, the masses won’t come together in support of the 2A because they don’t think “they” will loose anything by destroying the 2A, when in fact they can loose everything. That is why the “commonly understood” personal freedom to keep and bear arms was formally recognized and written as the 2A: to document a Right in simple terms (the Right of the People to keep and bear Arms) and protect the ignorant from themselves/government (shall not be infringed.). This Right is specific to the PEOPLE: Not the Federal Government, Not to State Governments. The ignorant fail to grasp the importance of a strong and un-infringed 2A. It not about “sporting purposes”, its about protecting the PEOPLE from all threats to Life, Liberty and Freedom. It is a equal protection for the Left and the Right. The current power on the Left and some on the Right want to eliminate that Protection held by the PEOPLE.

    There are three basic groups that attempt to infringe on or abolish the 2A, Peoples Protection:
    1. It is a Government that can’t overtly oppress the masss and fears escalation from protest to riot then revolt and the loss of control and power.
    2. It is victims, family and allies who suffered violence from criminals or mentally deranged persons that used firearms AND the criminal justice system didn’t provide a pound of flesh to their liking.
    3. The ignorant who don’t understand a strong and un-infringed 2A is as neccessary today as it was in 1775 and will be 250 years from now. They think mankind can be neutered from violent acts by removing firearms and what ever comes in common violent use after that,…

    “The Tree of Liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” A qoute from Thomas Jefferson. Very true words but there is a wider application IMHO. There has been bloodshed and death over free speech by those wanting to silence it. The same has happened to many who pushed for civil Rights and before that fought over slavery. We as a Nation endured the pain and loss but did not cave on those Rights and they stand secure. We have individual and mass criminal acts of violence and murder where firearms were used. It is most difficult for those directly impacted and I respect that. May the criminal justice system leverage the severest penalties upon the guilty and God show no mercy towards them. The bloodshed of these innocent victims must also be considered as refreshing the Tree of Liberty and not a reason to uproot it. It is not the Liberty (2A Rights in this case) that causes the loss but a criminal abuse of that Liberty which draws long established penalties.

    Political tool of disarmament.
    Where in the Constitution does it allow punishment of the innocent for the acts of a criminal? I can’t find it but when there’s a mass shooting there are almost instantaneous calls for all manner of gun control measures to be enacted into Law. Let’s be clear, the criminal broke existing felony laws injuring and killing people, do gun grabbers believe adding a lower Class Felony or misdemeanor would have been a successful deterrent? Of course not, “these new Laws” target law abiding citizens who will comply with them. Why create new laws when agencies didn’t enforce the old laws to the fullest extent or the agency dropped the ball? Again, puts more punishment in several forms on the innocent. Claims that if it saves one child it’s worth it (no, too many lives were lost in order to establish the Rights). “Loopholes” is a term used to infer dishonesty upon a lawful action that anti gun politicians and groups don’t like. No laws broken, no law is broken either, move along. By contrast, Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the Nation but every week there are dozens of shootings: 1-6 June had 10 shot and killed and 73 shot and wounded and heading for in a “record LOW crime year”! Its pretty much the same thing every week and doesn’t hit the national news. Of course its the ease of getting guns from outside the City and State that’s blamed as the problem not the criminals in the city who actually do the damage. Don’t you find it odd that all the anti gun politicians and groups NEVER MENTION Chicago “gun violence”? Moms/Mayors why the silence on a City that has more “gun violence” than LA and NYC combined? Could it be FAILED gun control leaving hundreds dead and thousands wounded every year doesn’t fit your narrative that guns must be banned and a peaceful utopia will follow? Keep peddling your chosen PR oppertunities and prostituting the victims and family’s grief to push your disarmament agenda.

    If gun grabbers can’t get the guns fast enough for their liking, they now go after the PEOPLE. We have had the list of firearm and ammunition prohibited persons for decades. Now they want an ever increasing laws that target people to disqualify their right to own/posses firearms. They went for domestic violence misdemeanor, expanded it to full family, intimate partners and now one date is enough of a relationship to qualify. Bloomed again to Red Flag Laws: anybody can claim another person has bad intent and your guns are gone faster than due process and you have to prove your innocence they need not prove your guilt beyond the filed Report. Lets not skip the attempt to push all PTSD into the restricted category and also force the release of protected medical records to non medical agencies. Last but hardly least is changing existing law and making what was widely known as lawful into a unlawful act thereby creating criminals with the stroke of a pen: Imposing ammo and magazine bans, mandating registrations and changing permanent one time registrations into mandatory renewal requirements or experation date X years from original issue, while at the same time creating a special enforcemen division to go and collect firearms from “now” expired registrations.

    If all lawful American Citizen’s are afforded the same Rights and Protection, why can’t some of them get a CWP because of their Zip Code? The 2A is adequate “good cause”.

    Those that give up their guns are on a self destructive fools errand. Tyranny shall never take what it didn’t provide: not by paper, not by Court and not by force.

  22. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Oh, boy… The resident Tory speaks again. You do drone on and on, Redcoat.

    1. avatar Pg2 says:

      Lol, “resident Tory”, yes and there seems to be quite a few here.

      1. avatar Shallnot BeInfringed says:

        You know, if you’re bothered so much by the people who post here, then you could just leave and not come back… I’ll guarantee you would NOT be missed.

        Just a thought.

  23. avatar ozzallos says:

    This seems like a lot of verbal wankery for such a simple topic and concept.

  24. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Why does it say “the people?” Because in a republic the government is an agent of the people, whom it may not fire, or in this specific encumber, for its own convenience. The government is not to encumber the people’s prerogative to keep and bear arms to use as they find necessary, including forming a militia to take care of some problem the government, poor servant, has failed badly enough to address.

    — Without a government, there would still be “the people.”

    — Without “the people” there would still be people, as in a bunch of persons doing their own thing.

    You can tell which comes first. People run around doing stuff, whether there’s a government telling them to, or not. Governments “do stuff” only as far as people within them do stuff upon their direction.

    The US constitution says “the people” because it, the charter itself, is an expression of the aggregate agrement of a bunch of individuals, doing some things in concert. “The people” don’t have a will or nature, but sometimes manifest a common preference, intention, or nature: the “volk” is an epiphenomena. Law, likewise, is an epiphenomna, that emerges from “the people”; neither individual persons, nor government.

    I’d love to hear alternative structures that track what happens and how things work, vs. what someone wishes would happen, and how they wish things would work. I’ll wait…

  25. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Why Does the Second Amendment Refer to “The People”?”

    Why does the preamble to the Constitution start with “We the People of the United States”…???

    For the same reason, it was written BY the people, and FOR the people…

  26. avatar oliveheadj says:

    One need look no further than the 4th Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    No leftist would claim this is a “collective” right and any asshole claiming such should be referred to that amendment. As someone here so eloquently stated, the rest is just verbal wankery.

  27. avatar Pg2 says:

    Despite what many of the pretend Bill of Rights supporters post here, the Bill of Rights does not grant community, or societal, greater, good, or “herd” rights. The Bill of Rights outlines indivual rights.

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