SourceSecond Amendment revisionists are at it again
Tom W. Glaser
Posted February 23 2007
Sadly, the Second Amendment revisionists are at it again, selectively misinterpreting the Constitution. As the 2001 James Madison Fellow for Florida, may I offer a more complete reading?
In Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16, Congress has the power to "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia." I doubt that the Founding Fathers had forgotten this when the Second Amendment was ratified. The best scholarship on this issue shows that the original intent was that the people be able to defend themselves against the militia, as armed, organized government forces were severely distrusted after the Revolutionary War.
Certainly the writers knew how to spell "militia," but chose to use the word "people" in the amendment because that was exactly what they meant. It is important to remember that the Constitution means whatever the Supreme Court says it means. In that regard, in U.S. vs. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990), the court ruled that the word "people" means the same thing throughout the Constitution. So, unless Freedom of Speech belongs only to the media, and Freedom of Religion only to large churches, then the right to keep and bear arms is clearly a personal right, not a corporate right.
Further, the National Guard is not the militia. It is a reserve component of the U.S. Army and Air Force, as shown on their uniforms. Congress has defined the militia as every able-bodied male citizen between the ages of 18 and 45, and every able-bodied male who has declared an intention to become a citizen between the ages of 18 and 45.
Words and laws have specific meanings and, unlike Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass, they don't mean whatever you want them to mean. The discussion of this topic is vital, and it must be done by an intelligently informed public.
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