I started my effort on this posting a week or so ago. I got despondent, bored, whatever – the powers that be will find a way around an issue to achieve their goal(s). Then, today, I made the mistake of reading this in Yahoo News.  For the record, I support the right for people to arm themselves.  Since time immemorial there have been the haves (armed) and the have nots (slaves, serfs, voters, whatever).  On the surface, reading the first paragraph or so, it sounds good – leave the rulings at the state level.

The details are what catches you. Two of the three listed are being brought by the NRA.  Is there a bias against the NRA at SCOTUS?  Naw, couldn’t be. But the above article kicked me into gear enough to go find that other article which got me riled. Not the original, but one close enough.  (Found it.) Justice Stevens Former-Supreme-Court-Justice-John-Paul-Stevenshas an impressive track record and there’s no reason for him not to weigh in on this subject. More power to him, I say, for continual interest in the law.  But, book promotion not withstanding Six Amendments, his position is wrong.

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

Questions from the peanut munching gallery, your honor?

 

  • If we are to ‘break down’ the words and/or phrases of this amendment, how far do we go?
  • According to the Wiki link for militia above, the term is now convoluted at best, and a personal non-professional army at worst (presuming, of course that any President could muster a militia to his banner – especially the recent ones).  If a proper militia were to be created, it would be under the command of the leader of ‘the State’. What if ‘the State’ is the enemy?
  • What part of the word ‘keep’ do you misunderstand?
  • ‘bear Arms’? Open carry? No concealed permits.
  • ‘serving in the militia’? Voluntary? Involuntary? Requirement for citizenship?

Any author worth their salt has an editor to help clarify otherwise confusing text. Please allow me to assist you, your Honor, with this tricky piece you worked on:

“A well trained populace, being necessary to the freedom and security of that populace, the right of the people to keep weapons, shall not be infringed.” – Edward Kowalski

The Framers had a specific enemy they were writing against. They also had comparison States throughout Europe – none of which were good examples to follow (except Poland perhaps, and even theirs was biased – and technically came after the US’). One of the commenters from the second link, Jeremy S, came up with a good quote:

 “Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”
– James Madison

[text emphasis mine]

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