Letter: Second Amendment debate misstates original intent

Why do so many so-called advocates of the Second Amendment, like a recent writer to this column, pretend that it states “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” and nothing else? By ignoring the all-important first half of the sentence, they conveniently turn a limited right into an absolute one. Here it is in its entirety: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people…” To gain a fuller understanding, let’s take a close look at the generally ignored first half. We can even adopt the point of view of our most conservative Supreme Court Justices, who call themselves constitutional originalists, and try to derive the original intent of the forefathers. • “A well-regulated militia…” The reference to the militia seems to refer to some form of citizen-soldiers (like our National Guard) needed to defend against Native people angry over encroachment and displacement, as well as those significant numbers of citizens who remained loyal to the crown and may have wished to return to the role of colonists. And what about “well-regulated?” Sounds like some form of gun control to me. • “being necessary to the security of a free State…” This seems to suggest that limited arms in the hands of a trained militia might be necessary in times of civil unrest. Think of how troops were called in to quell disorder when the universities of Mississippi and Alabama were integrated in the […]

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