Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Second Amendment and Militia

Many of the left's current gun control arguments focus on the original intent of the framers of the Constitution and their use of the word "militia" in the 2nd amendment. Ignoring the welcome, sudden, midstream shift from 'living document' to 'originalist' constitutional interpretation--albeit purely out of political expediency--we shall focus on the framer's intent in this regard.

First, the text of the amendment.
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 are several questions which need to be answered from the perspective of the times in which the amendment was written.
  1. What was a militia?  
A militia was a group of 'citizen soldiers' pulled from the general population at a moments notice.
  1. Where did the militia get its arms?
The militia's weapons belonged to the individual citizens.
  1. How does a militia compare to a standing army?
A standing army was a group of professional soldiers whose weapons were supplied by their government.
  1. Who would a militia fight against?
A militia would fight against invaders--either standing armies or other militias.
  1. Who has the right to keep and bear arms?
The people.

From this little exercise it is easy to see that the obvious interpretation of the second amendment, from an originalist standpoint, is that the people have the right to keep and bear weaponry sufficient to fight against an aggressor army or militia at a moments notice if called upon to do so.

Perhaps the left should go back to their living document approach.