Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Second Amendment is About Groups of People, Not Individuals

The second amendment to the US Constitution reads:

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.

Let's note that the word "Militia" is plural and it's capitalized. Why? At the time the second amendment was written, the British had a standing army the likes the world had never seen, at least not since the era of the Roman Empire. Standing armies weren't a thing. In fact, they were quite frightening to people because that meant an OCCUPYING AND CONQUERING FORCE.

So, it makes sense that the colonists would want a defense ("being necessary to the security of a free State) against that, hence a Militia, or their own standing army. The fact that it's capitalized means it's an organized force of many people defending the US government.

The latter half of the amendment also has a plural word. "People." Not "person." Not "individual." People, as in a group. This is about a group of people organized in defense of the State in a Militia. And they need to be well regulated which meant, in 17th-century language, well trained.

Before we move forward to modern times, let's take a look at some historical context. Colonists were required to purchase their own guns in case they had to report for duty in the militia. States could not afford to buy any sort of arms. Each state had its own version on the right to bear arms. James Madison, who wrote the second amendment, used these as a guide as he was composing the national version. Here are some examples of the state versions.


The people have a right to keep and bear arms;… a well regulated Militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the Community will admit; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the Civil power.

New York

That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, including the body of the People capable of bearing Arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State.


The people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State; and, as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

It's quite clear that Madison, in writing the second amendment, was thinking about militias standing in defense against standing armies. Considering that both he and Jefferson banned guns on the campus of the University of Virginia, they were clearly not talking about an individual right to own a gun. A person could own a gun while serving in a militia.

One need only look at the third amendment to the US Constitution for further context.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Again, we see the fear of standing armies. People look at this amendment today and don't really think much of it, assuming it's out of date and no longer applicable. But this was a big deal for the colonists who wanted to keep the standing, British army at bay.

It's crystal clear that as we look at the second amendment in our modern era, the original intent was based on being armed WHILE SERVING IN A MILITIA. Ironic, considering that the people that foam at the mouth the most about "original intent" are completely ignoring it here.

We now have our own standing army. It defends us quite well. And if for some reason, it became a tool of a tyrannical government, there is very little that a few handguns or even an AR-15 could do. They have drones. Discussion over. I will add that I see the more likely scenario of our armed forces splintering in which case, again, the need for ordinary citizens to have firearms is still not necessary and causes more harm than good.

Imagine if tens of thousands of people died from Islamic terrorism every year. Or ecoli from lettuce. A national emergency would have been declared long ago and action would have been taken. The religious belief that has metastasized around the second amendment must be eradicated. The United States loses 80 citizens a day to gun violence because of a small minority of our citizens'irrational fervor about guns. They consistently lie about the historical context of the right to bear arms and use fear to propagate unnecessary insecurity.

Fight their lies with this truth.

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