A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The thousand dollar question that plagues conversation today while tighter gun control by national and states government is, “Does the Second Amendment recognizes the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, or whether the right belongs solely to state governments and empowers each state to maintain a military force (state militia)?”
Progressives argue that the Second Amendment protects only the state’s right to an organized military—a well-regulated militia. It rejects any [all] suggestion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.
Anti-federalist Richard Henry Lee (writing under the pseudonym, The Federal Farmer), wrote, “A militia when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, and render regular troops in great measure unnecessary. The powers to form and arm the militia, to appoint their officers, and to command their services, are very important; nor ought they in a confederated republic to be lodged, solely, in any one member of the government. First, the constitution ought to secure a genuine [ ] and guard against a select militia, by providing that the militia shall always be kept well organized, armed, and disciplined, and include, according to the past and general usage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms; and that all regulations tending to render this general militia ― useless and defenseless, by establishing select corps of militia, or distinct bodies of military men, not having permament [permanent] interests and attachments in the community is to be avoided. …To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them….”
The Lectic Law Library Stacks explains the “Definition of the militia, by any of the Framers, as anything other than the “whole body of the people.” Indeed, as one commentator said, the notion that the Framers intended the Second Amendment to protect the “collective” right of the states to maintain militias rather than the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms, “remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eighteenth century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis.”
Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute explains “some believe that the Amendment’s phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. Under this “individual right theory,” the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Amendment renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional. On the other hand, some scholars point to the prefatory language “a well regulated Militia” to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory “the collective rights theory.” A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.”
An online Patriot friend Hugh Akston, describes the Bill of Rights being both ‘Individual Rights’ and those of ‘Collective Rights’.
Cornell’s Legal Information Institute points to case considered by the Court they wrote “In 1939 the U.S. Supreme Court considered the matter in United States v. Miller. 307 U.S. 174. The Court adopted a collective rights approach in this case, determining that Congress could regulate a sawed-off shotgun that had moved in interstate commerce under the National Firearms Act of 1934 because the evidence did not suggest that the shotgun “has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia . . . .” The Court then explained that the Framers included the Second Amendment to ensure the effectiveness of the military.”
The Lectic Law Library Stacks explains the Framers intent, “The words “well regulated” had a far different meaning at the time the Second Amendment was drafted. In the context of the Constitution’s provisions for Congressional power over certain aspects of the militia, and in the context of the Framers’ definition of “militia,” government regulation was not the intended meaning. Rather, the term meant only what it says, that the necessary militia be well regulated, but not by the national government.”
Lectic Law goes on to say, “To determine the meaning of the Constitution, one must start with the words of the Constitution itself. If the meaning is plain, that meaning controls. To ascertain the meaning of the term “well regulated” as it was used in the Second Amendment, it is necessary to begin with the purpose of the Second Amendment itself. The overriding purpose of the Framers in guaranteeing the right of the people to keep and bear arms was as a check on the standing army, which the Constitution gave the Congress the power to “raise and support.”
Congress’ over the years have enacted legislation expanding the list of ‘no no’ weapons.
The Declaration of Independence was derived from what Thomas Jefferson called, “the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc.”
Each great Philosopher in the ancient world offered the Framers a unique knowledge on the importance of an individuals right to bear arms.
Aristotle in his book Politics, he argues that each “citizen should work to earn his own living, should participate in political or legislative affairs, and should bear arms.”
John Locke (“Two Treatises of Government”, 1689): “Must men alone be debarred the common privilege of opposing force with force, which nature allows so freely to all other creatures for their preservation from injury? I answer: self defense is a part of the law of nature, nor can it be denied the community, even against the king himself…”.
Algernon Sidney (“Discourses Concerning Civil Government”, 1698):
“Swords were given to men, that none might be Slaves, but such as know not how to use them.”
Baron de Montesquieu (“The Spirit of the Laws”, 1748): “Who does not see that self-defense is a duty superior to every precept?”
Cato’s Letter #25 (April 16,1721) “The exercise of despotic power is the unrelenting war of an armed tyrant upon his unarmed subjects.”
George Mason,in the Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution said “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”
James Madison was quoted as saying “Although the proposed Constitution offered sufficient guarantees against despotism by its checks and balances, the real deterrent to governmental abuse was the armed population.”
Would we have won the Revolutionary War without all the long, often rusted, rifles of the spirited colonist?
A wealth of information exist online that supports the right of the individual to bear arms. The 2nd amendment by the Courts ruling is one that is not unlimited. The not unlimited is driven with consideration of in the best interest of government and common good dictum within the collective.
An aside: Much of this nations law is derived from English Common Law. Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter in 1812 to Judge John Tyler, the father of our tenth President, “On our arrival here, the question would at once arise, by what law will we govern ourselves? The resolution seems to have been, by that system [English Common Law], with which we are familiar, to be altered by ourselves occasionally, and adapted to our new situation.”
In the History of the 2nd Amendment, authored by David E, Vandercoy, Professor of Law, Valparaiso University School of Law wrote “The English republican views on the relationship between arms and democracy profoundly influenced the views of the founding fathers. Both the Federalists, those promoting a strong central government, and the AntiFederalists, those believing that liberties including the right of self-rule would be protected best by preservation of local autonomy, agreed that arms and liberty were inextricably linked.”
Note: History of the 2nd Amendment is an excellent read.
In History of the 2nd Amendment, Professor Vandercoy offers a history in British monarchical rule of giving, insisting and taking away the peoples right to bear arms. The United Kingdom today has extreme gun control laws. The Brit society has been altered to accept that private gun ownership, with few exceptions, serves no useful purpose in the collective. That is what is happening in American society today from the new age progressives.
The United Nations is quick to refer to the United States as a “gun culture”. This reference is a tactic “to shame” and at that the same time reinforce those countries of the West attitudes of extreme gun control among the citizen collective . It is a message that conveys to American progressives your cause is righteous.
In 2001 United Nations conference, Chris Smith in a paper titled, Breaking Out of the Arms Control Framework, wrote “Much is made at the moment of the need to combat entrenched gun cultures. The need to reverse fixed beliefs in the right, if not the duty, to bear arms is an enormous task. This is not just the case in “frontier” states such as the United States and South Africa.” What Mr Smith was inferring was that the United States was not different than say Somalia. This is the danger of progressive thinking on steroids.
Our government leaves a trail of small arms to lethal military armament across the planet. Weapons given to Afghan’s to fight the Soviet forces years ago were shared and are still in play today.
As with all progressives, the United Nations included, going after small arms in countries such as ours is desirable .It is desirable in that the task means we are under control and the focus then can be turned to controlling the untamed corners of the globe.
The entire issue around gun control laws are centered on controlling what are the law abiding citizen. Unarmed the law abiding are rendered helpless in their pursuit of liberty.