Originally published in the Fullerton College Hornet, Vol. 78, Issue 17; 3 Mar 1999
“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.”
These 26 words have helped safeguard the citizens of this country and kept us from becoming subjects in a dictatorship many times over the last 200 years.
Those same words are in jeopardy from a government that is threatened by the people’s knowledge of their rights.
Too many citizens of this country have surrendered their rights by the simple fact that they didn’t know they were doing so in the first place.
What does the second Amendment mean, in plain English?
“A well-regulated Militia…” To regulate means to control. According to Article 1 of the Constitution, Congress has the power to organize, arm and discipline the militia. Therefore, in this context, the militia means the military.
“Being necessary to the security of a free State…” A free state has established rules which those in power – from educators to police to elected officials – must obey. This means that no one, be they a common citizen or the president, is above the law. The opposite is a dictatorship or police state, where one person or a group of people have absolute power.
“The right of the people to keep and bear Arms…” According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, a right is “a quality that constitutes the ideal of moral propriety or authority.” Rights are giving by God (whichever is worshipped, the meaning is still the same), not government. It is therefore not within the power of the government to take a right away from the people, now matter how much they may want to. To keep and bear arms is to possess and carry firearms.
“Shall not be infringed.” According to Webster, to infringe means to restrict.
Therefore, the second Amendment, in plain English, would read, “A tightly-controlled military being required to prevent a police state, the moral authority of the people to carry firearms shall not be restricted.”
By this logic, every gun law ever passed is unconstitutional.
The second Amendment applies to everyone, not just the gun owners who like to go hunting or target shooting.
By virtue of the second Amendment, the people can defend themselves if an attempt is made to turn America into a police state, not just from invaders from another country.
The Bill of Rights establishes the inalienable rights of the people. Not one of those Amendments is better than another; they’re a collection of equals.
The second Amendment is the glue that has held the republic together for over 200 years.
Because the people have the ability to protect life, liberty and property, the American way of life is safeguarded.
To allow these rights to be trampled by spin doctors and flashy advertisements is the ultimate affront to the idea that is America.
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