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Literally Speaking: A Second Amendment Defense of the Right To Bear Arms Works both ways!

Updated on February 4, 2016

ten in 1787 = one in 2012

These 10 Militia Members have just shot off the equivalent of  a one shot magazine  from a 10 shot assault rifle.
These 10 Militia Members have just shot off the equivalent of a one shot magazine from a 10 shot assault rifle. | Source

The Second Amendment: What Exactly Is A Well Regulated Militia?

It could be argued that the interpretation of “well regulated militia,” as stated in the Second Amendment does not agree with the interpretation presented by the militant right, aka, the National Rifle Association and others in favor of total deregulation of our firearm laws. Disagreement stems from their definition of “militia” which the organization has chosen to deliberately and wrongly misinterpret to fit their thoughts about the matter.

The NRA and gun manufacturer's interpretation is a self serving attempt to bend the meaning so that the path to continued violence we as a country find ourselves in continues unabated. This is a misnomer that should be cast aside in favor of a reasonable approach to guns and their reasonable limitations.. We no longer need to be the laughing stock of the world because of our foolish gun laws.

We are all familiar with arguments on both sides of the gun issue. However, the discussion has never truly dealt with the interprettation of the term "militia" as applied to the rights the Constitution gives to a well regulated militia to bear arms.

The history of militias in our young country is mixed. Powerful interest groups have taken control of the matter and common sense has lost ground. Our rights and privilege to bear and control arms can be legally enforced by Congress with the backing of our present day, legally sanctioned forces who currently have that capability at their disposal.

Actually, by interpretation of our constitutional rights, the current, loose confederation of so called militias and gun loving individuals have no legal right to weaponry unless they are part of a well regulated group under the jurisdiction of the military and the Congress as noted in the paragraph below. In gaining those rights, our Government, either State or Federal have assumed the authority and responsibility to organize, arm and discipline those forces legally, along with the power to appoint the officers in charge years ago.

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the Militia Act of 1792 called for all able bodied males between age 18 and 45 to be enrolled in a militia. It also required that members of loosely formed militias of that day meet the demands of the act and come under Federal control. The act also required every militia member to provide himself with a suitable “musket” or firelock” rifle. That was not an issue, for in those times, families depended on their weapons for game and protection. .For those who interpret the law literally, as do many of the gun community, the laws did not say that every citizen should arm himself with a multi-shot, quick kill, semi automatic weapon. Instead, the Act called for the use of weaponry of its time, weapons far removed from today’s automatic and semiautomatic firearms.

Interestingly, the militia units of the period were used for slave control in the South as well as in deployments against Indians and bandits as ordered by the Governor of the States where these problems arose.

In 1903 under the Militia Act of 1903 the militias that had been formed over the years were to be melded into organized National Guard Envelopes, fully meeting the requisites of the Second Amendment that called for a “well regulated militia”, … and the right of the people to bear arms.”

Herein lies the discrepancy of the NRA claims that all citizens have the right to bear arms.
Just as the NRA claims their rights from the Second Amendment, those Americans who favor sensible gun control can also find the law in their favor by citing the Militia Act of 1792 and the Militia Act of 1903.

Under the Constitution and the other laws that have been passed, citizens do not have the rights to gun ownership they claim. Those rights, by strict interpretation, actually belong to Americans who are members of a regulated Military or State National Guard Units.

No one expects that those who are not members of the military should be required to turn their weapons in. It does suggest that the assumptions some make that authorize guns for everyone are not the intent of our founding fathers. Instead, our rights should and must carry with them some controls against abuse of power.

Unregulated militias often end up as secret societies, hate groups and activists devoted to overthrowing the government.If you must have access to automatic rifles, handguns and other sophisticated weaponry, join a well regulated militia like the Army or National Guard.

If you are campaigning against automatic weapons and large capacity magazines, implore the Second Amendment, which makes no mention of advanced automatic rifles and such.

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    • profile image

      Ghost32 

      5 years ago

      No one who grew up with an English teacher for a mother could possibly interpret the Second Amendment in any way but one. If you understand how to diagram the structure of a sentence, it's crystal clear that the Amendment protects the people's right to keep and bear arms, PERIOD. The preceding clause merely points out a bit of WHY that's the case, not WHAT is intended.

    • Superkev profile image

      Superkev 

      5 years ago

      In the 18th century "well regulated" meant well equipped.

      "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."

      — George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

      "If you are campaigning against automatic weapons and large capacity magazines, implore the Second Amendment, which makes no mention of advanced automatic rifles and such."

      The 1st amendment makes no mention of the internet or things like Playboy magazine either. So write your thoughts out with a quill on parchment and get back to us will you? Thanks!

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 

      5 years ago from The Midwest

      SCOTUS disagreed with you 9-0.

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