Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter The Unabridged Second Amendment

Cover: Stopping Power -- Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns

Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Some Notes and Discussion on the Second Amendment

The Meaning of the “Well-Regulated Militia”

“A well-regulated militia” in the preamble to the Second Amendment means “civilians who are trained how to use arms,” as opposed to army regulars. In essence, the Second Amendment means, “Since it is necessary for the security of a free society that civilians know how to use arms, the right of the people to own and carry arms shall not be abridged.” While Professor Copperud was technically correct that the meanings of the words haven’t changed in 200 years – the definition of “militia” in the dictionary and on the law books hasn’t changed – the public understanding of the word “militia” has been corrupted so most people today believe that the “militia” is a military unit rather than a civilian concept. This is precisely the “war is peace and freedom is slavery” corruption of language that George Orwell warned us against in Nineteen eighty four.

As far as the legal standing of the right to keep and bear arms in this country, it’s mixed. The Supreme Court has never made a ruling on the second amendment per se and given the current make-up of the Court, it must make Handgun Control, Inc., very nervous to contemplate what would happen if a Second Amendment case does reach the Supreme Court.

From a Discussion on the GEnie Computer Network

Barry, Message 126: There is no “limiting prefix” in the Second Amendment. Two prominent, impartial linguistic experts – one considered the tops in his field – analyzed the text of the Second Amendment and came to this conclusion. Read Messages 72 and 73 in this topic for the full text of their analyses. On the interpretation of the Constitution. Article 9 of the amendments reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

That is instruction from the framers on how the constitution is to be “construed” – that is, “constructed.”

The Oxford English Dictionary does not give a definition of “well-regulated” but instead gives citations for its use. Here are its citations, which bracket the writing of the Second Amendment:

1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations.”

1714: “The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world.”

1812: “The equation of time .. is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial.”

1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Major.”

1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.”

1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city.”

Find me “regulation” by an outside authority in any of these uses.


A Note on the Punctuation of the Second Amendment

I just received the following courtesy of Francis Warin of Oak Harbor, Ohio, in response to my article in Gun Week, “The Unabridged Second Amendment.” Mr. Warin has apparently been distributing this letter since 1978.

Congressional Research Service
Washington, D.C. 20540

To: Honorable Paul Findley
Attention: Miss Evans
From: American Law Division
Subject: Punctuation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

This will refer to your request of July 5, 1972 on behalf of Mr. James H. Macklin for information relative to the captioned subject. Mr. Macklin had noted that the punctuation of this amendment varied with the different sources which have reproduced it.

By resolution in 1789, Congress proposed twelve articles to the legislatures of the several states as amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Ten of these articles were ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states by 1791, including the amendment in question which was adopted in this form: “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.” 1 United States Statutes at Large 21, 97.

Information pertaining to the debate on this amendment in the state and Federal legislatures may be found in: Schwartz, Bernard, The Bill of Rights: A Documentary History, 2 volumes, Chelsea House, New York, 1971. This work retains the original spelling, grammar and style of all documentary material.

Paul L. Morgan
Legislative Attorney

In other words, according to the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, the text of the Second Amendment ratified by the legislatures contained only one comma, and the comma between “arms” and “shall” which some cite as changing the meaning of the amendment is not in the original text.

— September 18, 1991


Next in Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns is Reserve Militia Training and Regulation Act: a Proposal

Stopping Power — Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns is
Copyright © 1994, 1999 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share