Constitutional Fallacies Part 1: Insurrectionists

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Myth

You may think a 30 round magazine is too big. Under the real purpose of the second amendment, a 30 round magazine might be too small. – Erick Erickson

To put it bluntly, I need an assault rifle in the event that I might have to declare my independence from a tyrannical government. I’m statistically unlikely to ever shoot an intruder in my home. I’m statistically unlikely to ever be in the position to stop one of these rare mass killings at a school, as these things happen far less often than the media would have you believe. However, whether you are Democrat or Republican, you can easily find countless instances of the government stepping all over your rights, whether it be on social issues (marriage, gay rights, religious rights, etc.) or fiscal issues (taxation, property rights, business regulations, etc.) – http://www.dailypaul.com/266890/why-do-i-need-an-assault-rifle

The historical reality of the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms is not that it protects the right to shoot deer. It protects the right to shoot tyrants, and it protects the right to shoot at them effectively, with the same instruments they would use upon us. – Andrew Napolitano

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for re-election and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake free people get to make only once. – Judge Alex Kozinski

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. – Wrongly attributed to Thomas Jefferson

Overview of Pro-Gun Arguments:

 1st-american-rev-gun-rights                      

  • The Second Amendment is meant to prevent government tyranny by ensuring that the people are as armed as possible, and was written with this intent. An armed population will serve as a deterrent and the ultimate check to government power.
  • The Second Amendment ensures the safety of the Constitution and all of our liberties. Without the Second, all the other amendments would fall as well.
  • The primary purpose of the amendment is not self-defense or hunting and recreation. Rather, it is for the collective defense of Americans from their government.

Reality

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.

There is little to no evidence that the founding fathers intended the Second Amendment as a “doomsday proposition.” In fact, the language of the constitution directly refutes such an interpretation. Let’s start by looking at the text of the Second Amendment itself. I’ll skip over the “well regulated” part for now as any argument for constitutional insurrection necessarily overlooks this phrase (kind of hard to stage an insurrection when you are being “well regulated” by the government you are trying to overthrow). I would like to examine the “being necessary for the security of a free State” portion.  Notice that the text does not read “being necessary to overthrow the State” or “being necessary in case some dude feels the State has become tyrannical.” The purpose of a Militia and the reason “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” is to protect the state. Period. As Dennis A. Henigan notes in Arms, Anarchy and the Second Amendment, “How, then, can the Amendment that purports to express distrust of state governmental power, and to create a right to be armed against abuses of that power, also elevate the defense of state government to a constitutionally protected value?” The answer of course is that the insurrectionist interpretation of the Second Amendment is logically impossible.

An “insurrectionist” (an extremely vocal minority of gun advocates) may rejoin that I left out the adjective “free.” We will only overthrow the State when it becomes tyrannical and reinstall a “free State,” thus following the Second Amendment. However, this line of thought falls prey to fact that freedom and tyranny are on a continuum. There is no specific marker on a tyranny scale of “government mandated seatbelts” to “Hitler” of when government becomes “tyrannical” and needs to be overthrown. To make matters even worse, even if there was an objective scale for tyranny, it would be different for each person. While most people would readily agree that Hitler = tyranny, any sane person would also recognize that government mandated seatbelts (which make everybody safer) is not worth violently overthrowing the government and reestablishing a “free State.” However, what constitutes a revolution-worthy amount of tyranny? One person’s “no big deal” is another person’s “slippery slope to Hitler,” and if each citizen gets to decide at what perceived level of tyranny the government should be overthrown, anarchy results. If this theory of the Second Amendment (and the Constitution in general) had any legal validity, we would be in a state of perpetual revolution, which is no State at all. As Chief Justice John Roberts states, “Allegorical depictions of the law frequently show a figure wielding a sword—the sword of justice, to be used to smite those who violate the criminal laws … A basic step in organizing a civilized society is to take that sword out of private hands and turn it over to an organized government, acting on behalf of all the people. Indeed, ‘The . . . power a man has in the state of nature is the power to punish the crimes committed against that law. [But this] he gives up when he joins [a] … political society, and incorporates into [a] commonwealth.’ (John Locke)” (italics added)

Next, let’s examine the rest of the constitution to provide clues about the purpose of the Militia:

“The Congress shall have Power…

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” – Article I, Section 8

There is no language in the Constitution advocating armed insurrection. In fact, the Constitution lays out the polar opposite case. The Militia is supposed to suppress insurrections against the state, not start them. Also obvious is that the term “Militia” does not refer to an unorganized mob but rather a trained force ready to repulse any military threat to the State. During this time period the US did not have a standing military, meaning the militia was the first, last, and only line of defense against armed threats. Just as the military and National Guard (the modern version of the Militia) are the guarantors of State security today, so too was the Militia during the early days of the Republic.

Finally, let’s take a look at how the Constitution interprets insurrection (which, by definition, involves levying war against the government):

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. – Article III, Section 3

If the explicit language of the Constitution is not convincing enough, a brief historical examination of the early years after the Revolution should remove any final doubts. In the chaotic years following our country’s independence there were two major rebellions:

Shay’s Rebellion (1786) – Government had become “tyrannical” because courts permitted creditors to collect debts by seizing the property of debtors. The crackdown on debts and an increase in taxes created a large amount of discontent among already struggling farmers. These farmers, armed with muskets, threatened the state government, prevented the seizure of property, and blocked the collection of taxes. Property after all is a fundamental freedom, and seizing that property was a sure sign of tyranny.

Whiskey Rebellion (1794) – Farmers in Pennsylvania and Kentucky threatened tax collectors with gun violence when they attempted to collect on the newly implemented whiskey tax. These farmers formed a militia and marched under the banner of “Liberty and Equality.” In response, George Washington indicated “that the very existence of government and the fundamental principles of social order are materially involved in the issue, and that the patriotism and firmness of all good citizens are seriously called upon, as occasions may require, to aid in the effectual suppression of so fatal a spirit.”

It is worth noting that in neither of these cases did the founding fathers find the arguments for insurrection persuasive. Madison called the Shay’s Rebellion “treason“, and it was immediately condemned by George Washington and the other Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers (with the exception of Thomas Jefferson) saw Shay’s Rebellion as a prelude to anarchy and swiftly set out to strengthen and eventually replace the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution, in large part to combat future insurrections. In response to the Whiskey Rebellion, George Washington put these federal powers to use (including the Militia Acts of 1792) and suppressed the rebellion with a militia force of nearly 13,000 men.

This early history of our country also reveals what the founding fathers intended as a “Militia.” In 1792 Congress passed the Militia Acts, which conscripted every able bodied male (with a few exceptions) between the ages of 18 and 45, and mandated these conscripts supply most of their own equipment, including a rifle (yes, the Founding Fathers supported and enacted an individual mandate). They were required to report to musters, where their weapons were registered on public rolls (yes, the Founding Fathers supported and enacted a national gun registry). While the Founding Fathers saw these measures as necessary for the security of a free nation, insurrectionists today would probably decry these policies as unconstitutional and a step down the road to serfdom, just as they irrationally denounce all attempts at common sense gun reform as an assault on fundamental liberties.

Even if we accept the inherently absurd proposition that the intention of the Second Amendment is to promote armed insurrection as a “doomsday provision” or the ultimate check on government power (along with ignoring the early history of the US), the weapons that are currently legal would do little to stop a government bent on usurping our constitutional rights. Even fully automatic weapons would do little to stop a determined military response.  Unregulated, undisciplined mobs, that insurrectionists feel the Constitution refers to as Militias and are the vanguard against tyranny have a history in the United States. One only has to look at the examples of the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi elements, the Black Panthers, and other armed groups to see that these supposed militias only create more tyranny and fear, not liberty. Armed intimidation, which is what insurrectionists contend is necessary to stop tyranny, is a form of tyranny in and of itself.

I would like to end with a couple of quotes:

Happy for us, that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions. – Thomas Jefferson

It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. – Abraham Lincoln

Part 2 will debunk the myth that the Second Amendment provides an unlimited right to firearm ownership. Part 3 will debunk the myth that Militias (even in the Constitutional sense) are effective at preventing tyranny. Part 4 will tackle the broader philosophical debate of the freedom to bear arms.

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  • timdev

    Conspicuously absent from your analysis is any explanation of what right the 2nd Amendment *does* protect. Your analysis is impotent absent a competing interpretation. Put another way: every other amendment in the bill of rights limits the power of the federal government. What proscriptions do you believe the 2nd makes?

    The best argument I can think of is that it was meant to limit the federal government from regulating arms. The “Free State”s’ adversary wasn’t domestic insurrection, but rather an over-reaching federal tyranny. After all, it took some time for precedent that states themselves are bound by the BOR to appear.

    • This is why this is “Part 1” of 4. It simply isn’t feasible to fit all of the misconceptions about the Second Amendment (and more broadly the Constitution) into one post. And the purpose of the post was to explicitly show what the Second Amendment is not. Part 2 will go into some more depth about what the Amendment actually is designed for.

      And your second paragraph has some historical merit. Before the Whiskey rebellion, the federal government was very concerned about what powers they had over the Militia (versus what power the states had; they were also concerned about the heavy perceived limits on presidential power over the Militia). This is why they enacted the Militia Acts, to broaden federal and presidential powers.

    • You need to add to this a rather obscure section of the US constitution, the Domestic Violence Clause (Article 4, Section 4 of the US Constitution). This also goes to timdev’s comment:

      “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

      In this case, domestic usurpation of power by a small armed faction using force of arms: not the modern meaning of the term.

      Joseph Story explains this in his “Commentaries on the Constitution” 3:§1808 as “The want of a provison of this nature was felt, as a capital defect in the plan of the confederation, as it might in its consequences endanger, if not overthrow, the Union. Without a guaranty, the assistance to be derived from the national government in repelling domestic dangers, which might threaten the existence of the state constitutions, could not be demanded, as a right, from the national government. Usurpation might raise its standard, and trample upon the liberties of the people, while the national government could legally do nothing more, than behold the encroachments with indignation and regret. A successful faction might erect a tyranny on the ruins of order and law; while no succour could be constitutionally afforded by the Union to the friends and supporters of the government. But this is not all. The destruction of the national government itself, or of neighbouring states, might result from a successful rebellion in a single state. Who can determine, what would have been the issue, if the insurrection in Massachusetts, in 1787, had been successful, and the malecontents had been headed by a Caesar or a Cromwell? If a despotic or monarchical government were established in one state, it would bring on the ruin of the whole republic. Montesquieu has acutely remarked, that confederated governments should be formed only between states, whose form of government is not only similar, but also republican.”

      Also, we need only to go to the preamble to see that the concept of insurrection would be contrary to the purposes that the Constitution was intended to address: in particular “insuring domestic tranquility”. Thus the Constitution includes provisions against “domestic insurrection”, which the militia was tasked with suppressing (USC: Article I, Section 8, clause 15).

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  • Rob

    You forgot (as most people do) to mention that there was no true standing US Army at the time the Second Amendment was drafted and adopted, and most founding fathers had massive distrust in a standing army, viewing them as instruments of tyranny.

    Thus the true intent of the 2nd Amendment was to establish a militia to act as the national defense as there was no national defense.

    Unfortunately, the army was re-established around the same time/just after the ratification of the constitution.

  • legaleagle_45

    The fallacy of your argument is that the 2ndAmend, like other portions on the Bill of Rights was a restriction on federal power. Thus when you state:

    “The purpose of a Militia and the reason “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” is to protect the state. ”

    One of the things the militia was to protect against was federal usurpations of power. To assure that such a well regulated militia could always be organized out of the general populace, it was necessary to protect a preexisting right to have and use arms for personal purposes. In this way the framers knew that such a force could be quickly organized because a large percentage of the population would own firearms and be familiar with their use.

    “[W]hereas, 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; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it. ”
    —Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

    No other formulation of the 2nd Amend provides any substantive protections for the capacity of the state to form a well regulated militia. All other formulations are merely illusory and protect nothing at all.

    You are confusing a reason for the 2nd Amend, which you correctly point out is to insure the well regulated militia, with the methodology employed to protect that institution. As famed liberal Constitutional Scholar Laurence Tribe states:

    “[The Second Amendment’s] central purpose is to arm “We the People” so that ordinary citizens can participate in the collective defense of their community and their state. But it does so not through directly protecting a right on the part of states or other collectivities, assertable by them against the federal government, to arm the populace as they see fit. Rather the amendment achieves its central purpose by assuring that the federal government may not disarm individual citizens without some unusually strong justification consistent with the authority of the states to organize their own militias. That assurance in turn is provided through recognizing a right (admittedly of uncertain scope) on the part of individuals to possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes–not a right to hunt for game, quite clearly, and certainly not a right to employ firearms to commit aggressive acts against other persons–a right that directly limits action by Congress or by the Executive Branch and may well, in addition, be among the privileges or immunities of United States citizens protected by Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment against state or local government action.
    (Laurence H. Tribe, 1 American Constitutional Law 902 n.221 [3d ed. 2000].

  • PerryLogan

    In the 18th century, “to keep and bear arms” was legal jargon for “to serve in the military.” It was not about anyone owning anything.

    When you think about it, it’s pretty stupid to believe the Founding Fathers would insert a plug for a commercial product into the Bill of Rights.

    • legaleagle_45

      You are incorrect. about the terminology “to keep and bear arms” being legal jargon for “to serve in the military”. You would have a better argument about “bear arms” having a military connotation, however it is actually a bit more general and applies to carrying or wearing a weapon so as to be prepared for confrontation.

    • PerryLogan: You are correct and legaleagle is wrong, at least for any time before 2008. After 2008 legaleagle is actually correct. The court in DC v Heller did rule that “the right to keep and bear arms” was a right “to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,” which, looking at the historical documents, one is forced to conclude this interpretation was basically made up on the spot. Before 2008, this had everything and only to do with militia service and was jargon for military service.

      • legaleagle_45

        You are wrong again Deven. If you are correct, you can supply one source that asserts that the complete phrease “keep and bear arms” had an exclusively military connotation at the time the 2nd Amend was drafted.

        I think you will find the same amount of success you had trying to find federal case law supporting a collective rights interpretation from 200 years ago. Let me give you a hint Deven… the very first judicial opinion the at found an exclusively military meaning to the phrase “keen and bear arms” was the dissenting opinion of Stevens in Heller who made the ridiculous assertion that “keep and bear” protected a wholly military unitary right based solely upon the word “keep” was employed in some militia statutes requiring militia members to “keep arms”.

        • Wow, your inability to spell my name properly is the very least of your offenses.

          “If you are correct, you can supply one source that asserts that the complete phrease “keep and bear arms” had an exclusively military connotation at the time the 2nd Amend was drafted.”

          This is actually absurdly easy to do. As “to keep and bear arms” is one right, not two (otherwise it would be “to keep and to bear arms’), the primary focus should be on “bear arms.” Also, it is manifest that your reading of DC v Heller is not the best (to say the least), as Stevens focuses far more attention on “bear arms,” and only spend a little time on the word “keep.” There was a recent analysis that examined every germane historical document that contained the words “bear arms.” Of these documents, 202 were unambiguously referring to military service, and only 8 had another or unclear meaning. http://www.firearmsresearch.org/content.cfm/article_summary?article_id=3650

          As for the rest of your incoherent historical analysis: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4021&context=flr

          • legaleagle_45

            I apologize about the name spelling Devin— however, your statement:. “This is actually absurdly easy to do. As “to keep and bear arms” is one right, not two “, is totally unsupported, and is refuted by the congressional debates on the 2nd Amend. Please supply a source from the founding era which supports this view. as in fact it is a recent invention of Stevens. Now lets take a look at the congressional debates and the part ignored by Stevens…

            The debates in the 1st congress centered upon the religious scruples clause and the first thing of note is that this clause only deals with bearing arms with absolutely no me mention of keeping arms:

            “but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

            If it was a unitary right then the clause should read “but no person religiously scrupulous of keeping and bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.” Yet that is absent. Further, Stevens made great weight on the comment by Gerry, to establish a solely military connotation for “bear arms” where he says this:

            “Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms.” The Congressional Register, 17 August 1789.

            What Steven’s ignores is the comment made by Scott concerning the same clause:

            “Mr. SCOTT objected to the clause in the sixth amendment, “No person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.” He said, if this becomes part of the constitution, we can neither call upon such persons for services nor an equivalent; it is attended with still further difficulties, for you can never depend upon your militia. This will lead to the violation of another article in the constitution, which secures to the people the RIGHT OF KEEPING ARMS…..” The Congressional Register, 20 August 1789.

            Stevens also relies heavily upon Aymette v. State, 21 Tenn. (2 Hump.) 154 (1840) to establish a solely military connotation for the term “bear arms”. Yet he ignores the clear ruling of that case which distinguished the right to keep arms from the right to bear arms. Under the rule in Aymette one could bear arms only in a military context and the legislature could bar the carrying of a concealed weapon in spite of the right to bear arms. However, the citizens had an absolute right to keep weapons , or in the words of the court:

            “The citizens have the unqualified right to keep the weapon, it being of the character before described, as being intended by this provision. But the right to bear arms is not of that unqualified character.”

            So do you have some source from the founding era which establishes a unitary right and refutes the clear understanding demonstrated by Aymette and Scott that it was two distinct rights/

            I see you cite 2 authorities, both of which were part of the now defunct Joyce Foundation funded 2nd Amend research Center at Ohio State, and are of quite recent vintage. You need to cite your own ORIGINAL authority from the period as I have done. If you wish to cut and paste the original authority from Cornell or Cornell’s prodigy Kozuskanich that would be fine, but what I am looking from you is authority from the founding era which describes the right to keep and bear arms as a single unitary right. I apologize if my challenge was not clear on that point.

            Another thing of interest here is that Perry is wrong even if you agree with Cornell. Perry asserts it is “to serve in the military”. A more accurate description if you were to adopt the rationale of Cornell and Steven’s would be to carry weapons for purposes use in a battle or conflict. Membership in a formal military organization is no a prerequisite to “bear arms” Thus both the 7th Calvary under Custer and the Native Americans at the Little Big Horn were “bearing arms”.

            Further the terminology “to carry arms in the event of confrontation with another” fits equally well in almost every instance where an exclusive military connotation is asserted by Cornell and/or Kozuskanich. The fact that a phrase meaning “to carry arms in the event of confrontation with another” is employed in statutes involving the military is not surprising and does not convert such usage to an exclusive military one any more than the usage of the term musket in militia laws or military procurement statutes does not mean it is an exclusively military weapon.

            Finally, Devin according to usage of the day, acts of self defense were considered war. In fact, Thomas Hobbes described the first law of nature, self defense in terms of war.

            “[T]hat every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he
            cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war.” Thomas Hobbes, LEVIATHAN, at 99 (Aloysius Martinich ed., 2002) (1651).

            Nor was this unique amongst the Enlightenment philosophers of the day for example:

            “Any one, even a private person, can accept and wage a defensive war. This is shown by the fact
            that force may be repelled by force.”. FRANCISCI DE VICTORIA, DE INDIS ET DE IURE BELLI
            RELECTIONES 63 (Ernest Nys ed.,John Pawley Bates trans., William S. Hein 1995)(1532) . See also,
            GIOVANNI DA LEGNANO, DE BELLO, DE REPRESEALIIS ET DE DUELLO a2 (Thomas Erskine Holland ed., James Leslie Brierly trans., William S. Hein 1995)(1360), at 278; 1 Grotius, The Rights of War and Peace 183-84 (book 1, ch. 2, §1.3).

            Let us not forget those state constitutional provisions which were 2nd amend analogs and were passed during the same time frame as the 2nd:

            Alabama: That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. Art. I, § 26 (enacted 1819)
            Connecticut: Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. Art. I, § 15 (enacted 1818, art. I, § 17).
            Kentucky:: “That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” (1792) Art. XII, § 23.
            Michigan: “Every person has a right to bear arms for the defence of himself and the State.” (1835) Art. I, § 13.
            Mississippi: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms, in defence of himself and the State.” (1817) Art. I, § 23.
            Missouri: 1820: “That the people have the right peaceably to assemble for their common good, and to apply to those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances by petition or remonstrance; and that their right to bear arms in defence of themselves and of the State cannot be questioned.” Art. XIII, § 3.
            Pennsylvania: The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. Art. 1, § 21 (enacted 1790, art. IX, § 21).
            Vermont: That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and 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. Ch. I, art. 16 (enacted 1777, ch. I, art. 15).

            Finally, I would hope that you would honor the criteria mentioned for comments on this web page, to wit:

            “We welcome all coherent, respectful comments”

          • You clearly did not read what I provided, and it is equally obvious that you have not read Stevens dissent. As in his dissent, Stevens directly references and quotes from at least 5 original documents that make the meaning of “bear arms” very clear (pg 13 footnotes of the dissent). Those ORIGINAL sources he quotes from are enough to meet your challenge, even if you throw out the 110 of 115 documents the court found that used “bear arms” for military purposes and the 202 of 210 in the more recent study examining ORIGINAL documents from the founders time.

            Further, your focus on the religious scruples clause overlooks as ton of debate at the time. Several of the founders (especially anti-federalists) were terrified of the idea that the Federal Government could seize control of the state militias. For example, Luther Martin worried that Congress could (with no permission from the state: “march the whole militia of Maryland to the remotest part of the union, and keep them in service as long as they think proper.”

            As for the “keep” argument (which is a singular right, otherwise it would be “to keep and to bear arms” like everything else the founders wrote), it is very clear looking at the surrounding context that this was inserted to avoid a double cost in arming the militia. At the time, it was the DUTY of militia members to provide arms. The state at that point could hardly afford to arm everybody, so it was up to individuals to supply their own military arms (which is noted in a vast array of militia documents). As Patrick Henry noted of the potential problem:

            “So that our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals, &c. and thus, at a very great cost, we shall be doubly armed. The great object is, that every man be armed. But can the people afford to pay for double sets of arms, &c? Every one who is able may have a gun. But have we not learned by experience, that necessary as it is to have arms, and though our Assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavoured to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case? When this power is given up to Congress without limitation or bounds, how will your militia be armed?”

            As becomes obvious when looking at the historical context, keeping during this time went hand in hand with bearing, and bearing UNAMBIGUOUSLY refers to serving in a military capacity.

            As for the state constitutions, unless you believe in time travel, only two of them could have influenced the founders around the time of the constitution being formed. The rest of them come from the Jacksonian era, during which time there was a wave of states inserting the individual right to arms in their constitutions. Even during this Jacksonian era (and extending into the antebellum period), one only has to look at the work of John Forrest Dillon and a while later Calvin Townsend to see that the 2A was a collective/civic right referring to the Militia (under the dominant Arkansas doctrine). Indeed, Townsend even stated in his authoritative text from 1869: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, with which the General Government is herein prohibited from interfering, refers to the organization of the militia of the States.” You completely overlook the following states which obviously refer to a collective/civic right centered on the militia:

            Virginia (1776): “That a well -regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power .”

            North Carolina (1776): “XVII: That 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.”

            Maryland (1776): “XXV. That a well-regulated militia is the proper and natural defence of a free government . XXVI. That standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up, without consent of the Legislature. XXVII. That in all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to and control of the civil power.”

            Massachusetts (1780) “XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as in time of peace armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.”

            These instances double your 2.

            For your interpretation of the 2A to be correct, we would have to discard the preamble and complete ignore how contemporaries read preambles (John Jay in 1791, “A preamble cannot annul enacting clauses; but when it evinces the intention of the legislature and the design of the act, it enables us, in cases of two constructions, to adopt the one most consonant to their intention and design,” and I can provide several more), ignore the UNAMBIGUOUS FACT that “bear arms” means to serve in a military capacity, ignore that “the people” often refers to a collective as it does in the 1A. There is literally not a single word or phrase in the 2A referring to an individual right. And putting that type of right in the amendment would have been really easy. They could have done what Vermont and Pennsylvania did, but the founders didn’t.

            I find it disheartening that you flippantly dismissed the sources I provided without even reading them apparently. This ad hominem of dismissing the source without even looking at the arguments provided does not put your contentions in a favorable light.

            Until you actually read the Stevens decision and the material I provided, there is nothing more I can do and won’t engage further.

          • legaleagle_45

            You obviously did not read my original assertion concerning the entire phrase “keep and bear arms” and now wish to focus upon the terminology “bear arms”. You only come back with this:
            1. “As for the “keep” argument (which is a singular right, otherwise it would be “to keep and to bear arms” like everything else the founders wrote)” I assume you believe that the 4th protects a unitary right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures? That a search is ok without a seizure and vice versa? Would sure overturn a lot of 4th Amend jurisprudence…and flies directly in the face of the debates in the 1st Congress and Aymette. I assume you have no contemporary authority which supports your assertion. The problem, I am afraid, is you are confusing a right with a duty. The Militia Act of 1792 did not require the 2nd Amend to require members of the militia to equip themselves with arms.
            Almost every one of your references would be equally accurate using the definition to carry arms in the event of confrontation… So show me quotes where my definition does not work…
            Indeed, there was plenty of talk of discussion about “march[ing] the whole militia of Maryland to the remotest part of the union” In the Virginia Convention, it was the Georgia militia to New Hampshire which. Maryland, New York proposed an amendment to limit the capacity of the feds to do this… such proposal was rejected by the 1st Congress… and, of course the feds have the power to (and have exercised that power) to march the whole militia out of the state and the 2nd Amendment does nothing to prevent. So the question arises—
            If the Feds do march the militia out of the state and the only persons who have a right to have arms are members of the well regulated militia who are no gone, how does your version of the 2nd Amendment provide any protection for the fears expressed by Martin Luther?
            I can tell you how my version works because it has worked that way several times in our nation’s past. The state or local government will call for volunteers who will arrive with their own arms and will be familiar with the use of such arms because they have employed them for individual purposes, and those volunteers will quickly receive training and provide protection for the state and community in the absence of the well regulated militia.
            Your Patrick Henry quote is revealing even though he was not discussing the right to arms which was proposed by the Virginia Ratifying Convention… of course they did not want to pay for two sets of arms … “the great object is that every man be armed”… “that every one who is able may have a gun”. And of course the reason Henry was suggesting this was to insure that the militia was properly armed. Yet he did not say that the “great object is that every militia man be armed” and that “every member of the militia who is able may have arms.” In fact the duty to own arms (not to be confused with the right to have arms) in Virginia was not limited to enrolled members of the militia– it extended well beyond that to include almost all free persons— women, the aged, etc…
            Henry and other framers wished to encourage private ownership of arms. The best way to do this is to protect the preexisting individual right to have and use arms for individual purposes. In this way, the framers knew that a large proportion of the population would not only have arms, but be familiar with their use so that in an emergency a well regulated militia could always be drawn from their ranks:
            [W]hereas, 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; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.
            —Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
            Now Devin… let me tell you why I do not like Cornell. You state this:
            “[O]ne only has to look at the work of John Forrest Dillon and a while later Calvin Townsend to see that the 2A was a collective/civic right referring to the Militia (under the dominant Arkansas doctrine).
            This is lifted from Cornell’s “A Well Regulated Militia” at pgs 187-188. Cornell states that Dillion endorsed the “Arkansas Docrine” advanced by Joel Prentiss Bishop in his work Commentaries on the Law of Statutory Crimess, § 793, at 498. Cornell asserts that this “Arkansas Doctrine” arises from State v Buzzard, 4 Ark (2 Pike) 18 (1842)… which Cornell further claims adopted a strictly militia based right. and he quotes passages from Buzzard to substatntiate that view and claims that Bishop called this the “Arkansas Doctorine”. Well, Cornell was lying.
            Buzzard is an interesting case. It involved a statute which prohibited the carrying of concealed weapons. There were 3 different opinions Buzzard was heard by a 3 judge panel which issued 3 different opinions:
            1.) Chief Justice Ringo wrote an opinion that upheld a law prohibiting the concealed carry of weapons, citing authority that a law which regulates the manner of carrying arms is not in violation of the individual constitutional right.
            2.) Justice Dickinson wrote an that also upheld the law but used a collective rights theory of the 2nd Amend to get there— it is the first instance where the collective right thesis is articulated in a judicial opinion.
            3.) Justice Lacy wrote an opinion which would have found the law unconstitutional as a violation of the individual right.
            Cornell casts the opinion of Dickinson as the opinion of the Court and then cites Bishop for authority that this was the “predominant rule”. What Bishop actually had to say was this:
            On the other hand, a similar clause in the Arkansas Constitution was declared the Arkansas court not to be violated by this enactment, — the object of which is, the court considered, not to prevent the carrying of weapons in self- defence, but only to regulate the manner of carrying them. And the Arkansas doctorine is the one approved generally by the American tribunals. Bishop, Statutory Crimes, § 793, at 498 (citations omitted).
            Cornell then says Dillon adopts this view in “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms for Private and Public Defence”.1 Cent. L. J. 259-261, 273-275, 285-287, 295-296 (1874). Dillon does not do this either. As the title indicated, Dillon that the right to keep and bear arms was for BOTH private and public defense and cites Buzzard for the proposition that the legislature can regulate the manner of bearing arms so as to prohibit concealed carry. In fact Dillon speaks strongly about the individual right to self defense in the treatise.
            I suggest you no longer rely upon Cornell without first confirming the sources which he cites..

            The purpose of using state analogs for the 2nd was to clearly demonstrate that bear arms did not have an exclusive military connotation. So lets see your authority:

            Virginia (1776): — does not contain bear, thus does not support your contention. It is interesting to note there was a competing provision proffered by Jefferson:
            No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
            —Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776.

            North Carolina (1776): “XVII: That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State ;— Works just as well using the confrontation definition, in fact they would not have to include “in defense of state” if your definition was accurate.

            Maryland- No bear is mentioned thus it does not support your assertion.

            Massachusetts– Works just as well using the confrontation definition, in fact they would not have to include “common defense” if your definition was accurate.

            Blackstone and Story says much the same thing about the use of a preamble. It neither restricts or enlarges the operative part but acts as an aid in interpretation when two equally persuasive interpretations or proffered for the operative clause because of an ambiguity in the operative clause itself. The ambiguity can not be created or established by the preamble. When such an ambiguity arises, then the preamble is used to interpret the operative provision in a manner which will best advance the purposes mentioned in the preamble.

            Ok Devin… my version of the 2nd protects the well regulated militia by assuring the existence of an unassailable armory from which the well regulated militia can always be armed… regardless of whether the Feds disarm the militia or send them far away.

            How does your version work? The feds disarm the militia all the time, they send them to distant lands, leaving the state unprotected. They have even eliminated the well regulated militia for a period of time. The control who can be in the militia and have in the past prevented minorities, women and homosexuals from serving with no 2nd amend objection being made.

            What exactly would the government have to do to violate your version of the 2nd amend Devin and how does it possibly protect the well regulated militia???

          • I wasn’t going to reply again as you still clearly have not read any of what I have provided, but in your attempt to rebut Cornell you so horribly mangled the decision in State v. Buzzard that it is manifest you yourself have not read the decision, making your exhortation that I should rely on the original documents hypocritical to the extreme.

            A reading of the case directly refutes the idea that Ringo supported an individual rights view of the 2A. He spend about half of his time rebutting that view. At one point he even scoffs at the Bliss v. The Commonwealth ruling (which advocated an individual right) stating:

            “However captivating such arguments may appear upon a merely casual or superficial view of the subject, they are believed to be specious, and to rest upon premises at variance with all the fundamental principles upon which the government is based; and that, upon a more (p.26)mature and careful investigation, as to the object for which the right was retained their fallacy becomes evident. The dangers to be apprehended from the existence and exercise of such right, not only to social order, domestic tranquillity and the upright and independent administration of the government, but also to the established institutions of the country, appears so obvious as to induce the belief that they are present to every intelligent mind, and to render their statement here unnecessary.”

            Further, if you were to follow your own words and not read anything by anybody who had ever made a mistake (without extensive consultation to the original documents), you would not reference the majority opinion in DC v. Heller. Why? Well, Justice Scalia opines that “bear arms” only referred to military service when paired with “against.” This is a flat out lie. In fact, as the original documents prepared for the case overwhelming indicate (which have been supported by later examinations) that bear arms doesn’t refer to military service ONLY when there is qualifying phrase. The idea that bear arms refers to anything other than military service is overwhelmingly (in 2 cases by a factor of more than 20 to 1) supported by original documents. Unless you have some evidence that the word “keep” directly contradicts and overrules “bear” (which I have shown is not the case), the military interpretation stands. Period.

            Further, the idea the it referred to confrontation of any type wasn’t even a thing until 2008. No original documents advocate that interpretation. Neither side in the case brought any evidence to support that interpretation. Scalia provides no citation to support the confrontation interpretation for bear arms (he proxies “carries a firearm” and “use of arms” in his rather dismal attempt as justification). Your confrontation position didn’t even exist before 2008 (as it isn’t even necessary for an individual rights interpretation).

            You are quite clearly confusing “evidence of” for “compatible with.” Is the confrontation interpretation compatible with the language in the 2A. Possibly, at a stretch, and only because military service falls under confrontation. However, if the true meaning of “bear arms” is for confrontation, we would expect to see a wide range of documentation outside of references to military type service. We don’t, because it didn’t and doesn’t exist.

            Further, if you think the 2nd Amendment was being infringed on with my interpretation, your interpretation requires the States using their own constitutions as toilet paper. A whole host of the gun regulations passed in the century or so after the Constitution would have been unconstitutional. But they weren’t.

            I would urge you to conduct better and more thorough research in the future.

            Peace.

          • legaleagle_45

            Why did you misstate what I claimed about Buzzard and Cornell? What I said about Ringo’s opinion is that:

            “Chief Justice Ringo wrote an opinion that upheld a law prohibiting the concealed carry of weapons, citing authority that a law which regulates the manner of carrying arms is not in violation of the individual constitutional right.” That is 100% correct. Here is a link to the case:

            http://www.guncite.com/court/state/4ar18.html

            Now, If you wish for me to give a more extended analysis of Ringo’s opinion—

            Ringo spends most of his time essentially repeating Scalia’s refrain “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited”. Apparently, the defendant was asserting that any law impacting the right protected was invalid. Ringo then opines this:

            “I have come to the conclusion that the Legislature possesses competent powers to prescribe, by law, that any and all arms, kept or borne by individuals, shall be so kept and borne as not to injure or endanger the private rights of others, disturb the peace or domestic tranquility, or in any manner endanger the free institutions of this State or the United States; and that no enactment on this subject, which neither directly nor indirectly so operates as to impair or render inefficient the means provided by the Constitution for the defense of the State, can be adjudged invalid on the ground that it is repugnant to the Constitution. The act in question does not, in my judgment, detract anything from the power of the people to defend their free state and the established institutions of the country. It inhibits only the wearing of certain arms concealed. This is simply a regulation as to the manner of bearing such arms as are specified.”

            Ringo seems to be asserting a rule very similar to the one found in Aymette v State, 21 Tenn. (2 Hump) 154 (1840) with the distinct difference that Ringo does not ascribe a purely military meaning to the terminology “bear arms” and the uses for which an arm may be borne extend beyond just service in the militia to include all civic obligations to aid in the enforcement of law, which I would assume would include such things as hue and cry and posse comitatus. The distinction is that the purpose of the right as far as Ringo is concerned is for a public purpose rather than a private one. However, clearly Ringo does not believe it necessary to reach that conclusion to decide the case. He notes:

            “It may therefore be considered as an open question; and being one of interest and importance, and as I conceive clearly within the cognizance of the Supreme Court of the United States, an adjudication of that court upon it, by which the extent of the right may be distinctly ascertained and definitely settled, can be readily obtained, and the rule of decision in relation to it be made uniform throughout the Union.”

            He then cites The State v. Reid, and The State v. Mitchell for the proposition that even in those states which have Constitutional provisions which clearly involve a private right of self defense, the legislature has the authority to regulate the manner in which arms a borne. It is only then that he declares:

            “I am therefore, after a careful and deliberate consideration of the question, of the opinion that the enactmnent of the Legislature, above quoted, is in no wise repugnant either to the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of this State, but is in every respect binding as a law of the land.”

            I can only conclude that Ringo’s opinion stands for no more than that mentioned by Bishop:

            “On the other hand, a similar clause in the Arkansas Constitution was declared the Arkansas court not to be violated by this enactment, — the object of which is, the court considered, not to prevent the carrying of weapons in self- defence, but only to regulate the manner of carrying them. And the Arkansas doctorine is the one approved generally by the American tribunals.” Bishop, Statutory Crimes, § 793, at 498 (citations omitted).

            Bishop’s work is available online in Google Books and the specific sections cited by Cornell is found on this link:

            http://books.google.com/books?id=hJMsAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA426&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

            Scroll down a little more than half way down to § 793, at page 498 and you will see that Bishop agrees with me about Ringo’s opinion and Cornell is obviously misrepresenting what the Arkansas Doctrine is.

            So let us take a look at what Cornell says:

            “Although Bishop noted that a few courts had embraced a more expansive conception of bearing arms under state constitutional law, the dominant view was the more limited civic, militia view articulated in Buzzard, AN INTERPRETATION BISHOP CHARACTERIZED AS THE ARKANSAS DOCTORINE.” Saul Cornell, “A Well Regulated Militia, The Founding Fathers and Gun Control” at 188

            Regardless what you believe Buzzard actually stands for, it is quite clear that Bishop characterized the Arkansas Doctrine as one which allowed the regulation of the manner of carrying arms used in self defense – that concealed carry could be prohibited.– and Bishop said not one word about militias when discussing the Arkansas Doctrine in §793. Alos in contrary to what Cornell claims, John Forrest Dillon also confined his discussion of Buzzard to the manner of carrying arms:

            “The distinction here taken in regard to the manner of carrying or wearing weapons, has been followed in several later cases. Thus in Nunn v. The State, 1 Kelly, 243, decided in 1846, the Supreme Court of Georgia held that a statute of that state, so far as it sought to suppress the practice of carrying certain weapons secretly, was valid, inasmuch as it did not deprive the citizen of his natural right of self-defence, or of his constitutional right to keep and bear arms; but that so much of it as prohibited the wearing of certain arms openly, was unconstitutional and void. To the same effect, see Stockdale v. The State, 32 Ga. 225, and the very thoroughly considered case of The State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. 18.” Dillon, John F., & Thompson, S.D., eds., The Right to Keep and Bear Arms for Private and Public Defence, 1 Central L. J. 259-261, 273-275, 285-287, 295-296 (1874).

            The only other mention of Buzzard by Dillon was with regards to whether the 2nd Amend was binding upon the states, stating this:

            “So in the Arkansas case, The State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. 18, all the judges appear to have understood this amendment as applicable to the states; and Judge Dickinson supposes it to pertain to the power possessed by the general government of organizing, arming and disciplining the militia. He says this provision of the federal constitution “is but an assertion of that general right of sovereignty belonging to independent nations, to regulate their military force.” This view of Judge Dickinson contains the only plausible reason we have met with for supposing that this amendment is binding upon the states.”

            Obviously, Cornell is lying, which is why I do not rely upon EVER. If it makes you feel better, I do not rely upon Halbrook either. I find him to be almost as deceptive as Cornell.

            What is clear about the term “bear arms” is this — in all provisions which you cite fro an exclusive military connotation for the terminology, the more general definition of to “carry or wear a weapon in the event of confrontation”—

            Yet you claim: “Further, the idea the it referred to confrontation of any type wasn’t even a thing until 2008. No original documents advocate that interpretation”

            Oh really? The meaning employed was COPIED from Justice Ginsburg’s opinion in in Muscarello v. United States, 524 U. S. 125 (1998): “[s]urely a most familiar meaning is, as the Constitution’s Second Amendment . . . indicate[s]: ‘wear, bear, or carry . . . upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose . . . of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ ”

            Now where did Ginsburg get that? That definition is derived from Blacks Law Dictionary, which in turn relies upon Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England, Commentaries on Littleton, 151(b)-152(a). Further, there are clear and unmistakable contemporary usage of the term to indicate a private right of self defence in state analogs to the 2nd Amend.

            Your challenge is therefore met.

            There is no contemporary authority which describes the phrase “keep and bear arms” as a unitary right… and it is in fact refuted by the original authority which is relied upon to assert a wholly military meaning for bear arms.

            Your challenge to me concerning “a whole host of the gun regulations passed in the century or so after the Constitution would have been unconstitutional. “ is without merit.

            First I note you did not even mention a specific regulation which would be in violation— as I have no problem with the actual “Arkansas Doctrine” described by Bishop, nor do I have any problem with laws prohibiting those “weapons only useful in the hands of robbers and assassins” enunciated in Aymette.

            Second I note that the rule found in Barron v Baltimore would eliminate state law problems until after the Due Process incorporation doctrine was articulated in 1925 pursuant to Gitlow v. New York. Since the very first federal gun control law did not arise until 1927 (shipment of concealable in the mails) your challenge is somewhat humorous since the time frame you provided would only extend to 1891 (I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed you meant for the 100 years following the ratification of the 2nd Amendment)

            I note you did not attempt to meet my challenge Devin, so I shall repeat it.

            Given the fact that the government has plenary control over the well regulated militia and has in the past excluded minorities, women and homosexuals from service in the well regulated militia without a single 2nd Amend challenge to same and given the fact that members of the well regulated militia are disarmed when not actually in combat or engaged in training and given the further fact that whole units of the well regulated militia have been stripped of their arms and equipment without a single 2nd amend challenge and given the fact the entire well regulated militia was totally destroyed by the federal government for several years with the blessings of a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court — the question arises:

            WHAT WOULD THE GOVERNMENT HAVE TO DO TO VIOLATE YOUR VERSION OF THE 2ND AMENDMENT?

          • ““Chief Justice Ringo wrote an opinion that upheld a law prohibiting the concealed carry of weapons, citing authority that a law which regulates the manner of carrying arms is not in violation of the individual constitutional right.” That is 100% correct. Here is a link to the case:”

            Except it is not. He explicitly upholds a collective/civic right, not an individual right. From the case:

            “If these general powers of the government are restricted in regard to the right to keep and bear arms, the limitation, to whatever extent it may exist, will be better understood, and more clearly seen, when the object for which the right is supposed to have been retained, is stated. That object could not have been to protect or redress by individual force, such rights as are merely private and individual, as has been already, it is believed, sufficiently shown: consequently, the object must have been to provide an additional security for the public liberty and the free institutions of the state, as no other important object is perceived, which the reservation of such right could have been designed to effect. Besides which, the language used appears to indicate distinctly that this, and this alone, was the object for which the article under consideration was adopted. And it is equally apparent, that a well regulated militia was considered by the people as the best security a free state could have, or at least, the best within their power to provide. But it was also well understood that the militia, without arms, however well disposed, might be unable to resist, successfully, the effort of those who should conspire to overthrow the established institutions of the country, or subjugate their common liberties; (p.25)and therefore, to guard most effectually against such consequences, and enable the militia to discharge this most important trust, so reposed in them, AND FOR THIS PURPOSE ONLY [caps added], it is conceived the right to keep and bear arms was retained, and the power which, without such reservation, would have been vested in the government, to prohibit, by law, their keeping and bearing arms for any purpose whatever was so far limited or withdrawn; which conclusion derives additional support from the well-known fact that the practice of maintaining a large standing army in times of peace had been denounced and repudiated by the people of the United States as an institution dangerous to civil liberty and a free State, which produced at once the necessity of providing some adequate means for the security and defense of the state, more congenial to civil liberty and republican government. And it is confidently believed that the people designed and expected to accomnplish this object by the adoption of the article under consideration, which would forever invest them with a legal right to keep and bear arms for that purpose; but it surely was not designed to operate as an immunity to those who should so keep or bear their arms as to injure or endanger the private rights of others, or in any manner prejudice the common interests of society.”

            In the language of the time, it doesn’t get much clearer. The 2A, according to Ringo, does not address a private/personal/individual right.

            And I provided a full list of regulation in a link previously, and its not my fault that you won’t read it.

            The militia was essentially eliminated once most people realized it was an exceedingly bad idea (and that armies were just better). The 2A is an anachronism. And every single point you raise about violations to my definition are even worse for your case. Entire groups of people have been prohibited from carrying firearms. There are a whole host of regulations (again in the link you refuse to read) that directly infringe upon a person’s supposed right to be armed in case of confrontation, and yet silence from most of the courts. Your violations destroy your interpretation far more than mine. In mine, the states are free to decide who serves in their militia or not. The restriction is on the federal government to not interfere. Under my definition entire groups can be bared from militia service, as long as it is the state doing the barring. The collective militia right is still being upheld.

            Also, your whole line of argumentation about why the “defense of the state” part is included if bear arms meant military service and the 2A was a collective right misses the mark. More interesting is why states after the federal constitution started even switching from themselves to “himself.” This switch would be wholly unnecessary if your interpretation was correct, and would frankly be really bizarre.

            Further, I mentioned nothing about the state laws violating the federal constitution, but their own state constitutions (quite a few of which have the bear arms terminology), so your criticism here is misplaced at best.

            You have yet to provide any explanation for the massive disparity between bear arms for military purpose, and why there is a distinct lack of any non-military references (which we would obviously expect to see if the true meaning of bear arms was indeed for confrontation).

            Also, Ginsburg was referencing “carries a firearm,” not “bears arms.” This proxy does not work, as “carries” is not the same as “bear,” as the overwhelming amount of historical evidence shows. Further, it is amusing to note that Ginsburg went with the dissent.

            Alas, neither of us is clearly going to change the other’s mind on this. You have the last word, it you want it.

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  • Kareem O’Wheat

    The author is wrong in so many ways.

  • Charles Smith

    Congratulations to this author for living without reason, without common sense, without logic. His tortured and contorted argument to undermine the obvious meaning of our Second Amendment as an individual right against tyranny is evidenced by his inability to deliver a cogent argument. The more loquacious one is, the more removed they are from reality and common sense because they must first refute obvious common sense and meaning, then must rebuild their faulty argument on false presuppositions leading to erroneous and foolish conclusions. Thank you for illustrating your obtuseness.

  • Charles Smith

    Since many people follow fools to the grave …… Congratulations to this author for living without reason, without common sense, without logic. His tortured and contorted argument to undermine the obvious meaning of our Second Amendment as an individual right against tyranny is evidenced by his inability to deliver a cogent argument. The more loquacious one is, the more removed they are from reality and common sense because they must first refute obvious common sense and meaning, then must rebuild their faulty argument on false presuppositions leading to erroneous and foolish conclusions. Thank you for illustrating your obtuseness.

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