The 2nd Amendment Explained

This post should be married to my other post regarding the 2nd Amendment,

The 2nd Amendment Was Only For Muskets.”

Here is the amendment as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State:

  • 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.

As Founder, Tench Coxe, of Pennsylvania — noted:

“As the military forces which must occasionally be raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article (of amendment) in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” — Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789

In other words, the comma in that Amendment  separates the clause… there are TWO part to this Amendment, and so it should read (The RPT version):

  • Since an organized force of volunteer citizens is necessary to defend our freedoms from tyranny within [a. federal vs. state | b. one’s own domicile] or (c.) foreign attack, the government shall in no way limit the People’s right to own and carry weapons for collective (a,c) or for sportsmanship or sustenance reasons as well as personal defense of private property guaranteed as a Natural Right (b).

In other words at the split in the sentence, what is reasonable to protect a state (tanks, bazookas, planes). And what is reasonable to protect a home and hunt with (pistols, semi-auto rifles/shotguns [like the AR], etc).

Here, Mark Levin explains these concepts to a caller to his radio show:

David French discusses some of the issues in his article in NATIONAL REVIEW discussing the original text of this Amendment:

…As Justice Scalia noted in his Heller decision, the amendment contains both a prefatory clause and an operative clause. The prefatory clause, a common feature at the time of drafting, does not limit the operative clause; rather, it explains its purpose.

The operative clause is, of course, clear: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” As Scalia correctly observed, every other time the original, un-amended Constitution or the Bill of Rights uses the phrase “right of the people,” the text “unambiguously refer[s] to individual rights.” Further, the language clearly indicates that the amendment wasn’t creating a new right but recognizing a pre-existing individual liberty — one that is referenced in the 1689 English Bill of Rights. The language “shall not be infringed” indicates recognition, not creation.

But what about the prefatory clause? What does the a “well regulated militia” have to do with an individual right? Scalia explained well in Heller:

The Second Amendment’s prefatory clause announces the purpose for which the right was codified: to prevent elimination of the militia. The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting. But the threat that the new Federal Government would destroy the citizens’ militia by taking away their arms was the reason that right — unlike some other English rights — was codified in a written Constitution.

To believe that the Second Amendment is a collective right, Scalia concluded, is to believe that the authors of the Bill of Rights employed individualist language in order to protect the people’s right to take part in militia organizations over which the national government enjoys plenary power…

[….]

It is critical to remember that the Founding Fathers were Englishmen before they were Americans. When they began to sow the seeds of revolt against the British crown, they sought not to destroy all that had gone before but to protect rights that they believed they already possessed. Thus, when George III responded to unrest by attempting to disarm rebellious colonists, he “provoked polemical reactions by Americans invoking their rights as Englishmen to keep arms,” Scalia wrote. (“Arms,” incidentally, did not mean only “muskets” but included any personal weapon that could be wielded by an individual, including but not limited to “musket and bayonet,” “side arms,” and “sabre, holster pistols, and carbine.”)

Justice Scalia understood this well:

By the time of the founding, the right to have arms had become fundamental for English subjects. Blackstone, whose works, we have said, “constituted the preeminent authority on English law for the founding generation,” cited the arms provision of the Bill of Rights as one of the fundamental rights of Englishmen. His description of it cannot possibly be thought to tie it to militia or military service. It was, he said, “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation,” and “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” Other contemporary authorities concurred. Thus, the right secured in 1689 as a result of the Stuarts’ abuses was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.

Writing in 1803, after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, St. George Tucker updated Blackstone’s Commentaries. In America, Tucker wrote, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed . . . and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government.” The United States, he boasted, “may reasonably hope that the people will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty.”

[….]

One cannot analyze the Second Amendment without understanding its moral and philosophical underpinnings. Colonial America was a land populated by people who were both highly literate biblically and steeped in Lockean philosophy.

The biblical record sanctioning self-defense is clear. In Exodus 22, the Law of Moses permits a homeowner to kill even a mere thief who entered his home at night, and the books of Esther and Nehemiah celebrate the self-defense of the Jews against their lawless attackers. Nehemiah exhorted the Israelites to defend themselves: “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” The oft-forgotten climax of the book of Esther is an act of bloody self-defense against a genocidal foe.

Nor did Jesus require his followers to surrender their lives — or the lives of spouses, children, or neighbors — in the face of armed attack. His disciples carried swords, and in one memorable passage in Luke 22, he declared there were circumstances in which the unarmed should arm themselves: “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Christ’s famous admonition in his Sermon the Mount to “turn the other cheek” in the face of a physical blow is not a command to surrender to deadly violence, and it certainly isn’t a command to surrender family members or neighbors to deadly violence.

In his Second Treatise of Civil Government, Locke described the right of self-defense as a “fundamental law of nature”:

Sec. 16. The state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man’s life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other’s power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the commonlaw of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power. (Emphasis added.)

Moreover, Locke argues, these laws of nature were inseparable from the will of God:

The rules that they make for other men’s actions, must, as well as their own and other men’s actions, be conformable to the law of nature, i.e. to the will of God, of which that is a declaration, and the fundamental law of nature being the preservation of mankind, no human sanction can be good, or valid against it.

This right is so fundamental that it’s difficult to find even leftist writers who would deny a citizen the right to protect her own life….

(READ IT ALL!)

Here are a couple quotes by the men who knew the details of what they wrote:

  • Thomas Jefferson said, “No free man shall be debarred the use of arms.”
  • Patrick Henry said, “The great object is, that every man be armed.”
  • Richard Henry Lee wrote that, “to preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms.”
  • Thomas Paine noted, “[A]rms . . . discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.”
  • Samuel Adams warned that: “The said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.”

(NRA)

More quotes from the Founding Fathers DEFINING the 2nd Amendment can be found at THE FEDERALIST PAPERS

72 Killed Resisting Massachusetts State Gun Confiscation

This comes via UFP, enjoy, the title caught my attention as well, “72 Patriots Killed Resisting Massachusetts State Gun Confiscation“:

Boston – National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed by elements of a Para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.

Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement.

Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group’s organizers as “criminals,” issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government’s efforts to secure law and order.

The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons.

Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.

One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that “none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily.”

Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government’s plans.

During a tense standoff in the Lexington town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists.

Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.

Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces over matched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat.

Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops.

Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as “ringleaders” of the extremist faction, remain at large.

And this fellow Americans, is how the American Revolution began, April 20, 1775.

On July 4th, 1776 these same “right wing anti-tax extremists” signed the Declaration of Independence, pledging to each other and their countrymen their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Many of them lost everything, including their families and their lives over the course of the next few years.

This is a powerful reminder of how far we have come as a nation. In many regards we have come full circle and find ourselves in a situation not unlike that of our founding fathers.

It does seem like a full circle. Read more.

Concepts: “The Loss of Secular Society” (Distortions from the Left)

I am amused to see a guy — John Van Huizum — mention his two-decades of writing articles, and then, follow this resume reference with this:

I think that when you put God on a U.S. issued coin or banknote, you obviously ignore what should be a separation of church and state, as many of our founders intended.

Please, besides writing crap for two decades backed by nothing more than opinion, tell me what the Founders thought of “separation of church and state” John. Tell me what books you have read to come to such a conclusion, please. And I imagine you would have read a few from each viewpoint to come to such a FIRM conclusion, like: “you OBVIOUSLY ignore what should be a separation of church and state, as many of our founders intended” (emphasis added). In a paper I did on this topic, I note that the same persons that wrote and ratified the 1st Amendment, did something that according to John they shouldn’t have done if how he views the topic is true. For instance, as soon as they finished with Constitutional issues (its creation and passage), they immediately went to their prospective states and wrote their state constitution. Here are some excerpts from them:

State Constitutions

On the day the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they underwent an immediate transformation.  The day before, each of them had been a British citizen, living in a British colony, with thirteen crown-appointed British state governments.  However, when they signed that document and separated from Great Britain, they lost all of their State governments.

Consequently, they returned home from Philadelphia to their own States and began to create new State constitutions.  Samuel Adams and John Adams helped write the Massachusetts constitution; Benjamin Rush and James Wilson helped write Pennsylvania’s constitution; George Read and Thomas McKean helped write Delaware’s constitution; the same is true in other States as well.  The Supreme Court in Church of Holy Trinity v. United States (1892) pointed to these State constitutions as precedents to demonstrate the Founders’ intent. 

Notice, for example, what Thomas McKean and George Read placed in the Delaware constitution:

“Every person, who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust… shall… make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: ‘I do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed forever more, and I acknowledge the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.’”

Take note of some other State constitutions.  The Pennsylvania constitution authored by Benjamin Rush and James Wilson declared:

“And each member [of the legislature], before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz: ‘I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the rewarded of the good and the punisher of the wicked, and I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’”

The Massachusetts constitution, authored by Samuel Adams – the Father of the American Revolution – and John Adams, stated:

 “All persons elected must make and subscribe the following declaration, viz. ‘I do declare that I believe the Christian religion and have firm persuasions of its truth.’”

North Carolina’s constitution required that:

“No person, who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the [Christian] religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office, or place of trust or profit in the civil department, within this State.”

You had to apply God’s principles to public service, otherwise you were not allowed to be a part of the civil government.  In 1892, the Supreme Court (Church of Holy Trinity v. United States) pointed out that of the forty-four States that were then in the Union, each had some type of God-centered declaration in its constitution.  Not just any God, or a general God, say a “higher power,” but thee Christian God as understood in the Judeo-Christian principles and Scriptures.  This same Supreme Court was driven to explain the following:

“This is a religious people.  This is historically true.  From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation….  These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people….  These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

…read more…

In other words, for two decades John has been writing hearsay and not doing the hard work a knowing what the “F” he is talking about. Unfortunately, due to time, I am not able to critique other issues in this short article I found wanting. That being said, I am sure the reader gets the point from this single critique (as well as my previous) that John is your typical secular liberal. I think I agree with Milton Berle’s assessment of John (*wink*), “with him, ignorance is a religion.”