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.
Why has there been so much argument over such a short statement? Purposeful misrepresentation by those who wish to subjugate a group of people, or an entire nation.
How do we “moderns” understand what our founder’s meant, if we are confused by others that “plain English” doesn’t really mean what it “says”? We read our founder’s letters and our founding documents together. We don’t read the 2nd Amendment in a vacuum by itself. How do we start? At the beginning!
The title says: Bill of Rights. Not:
- Bill of Privileges, not
- Bill of Suggestions, not
- Bill of Facts.
Next look to the Bill of Rights and ask, “What is the reason for the Bill of Rights?”
Our Founders explained in the Preamble to the Bill of Rights:
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THEConventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the “Bill of Rights.”
The Congress’ of the several States, UNDERSTOOD, the new Federal Government’s powers were limited to ONLY those powers granted and enumerated in the new Constitution. However, our founder’s also understood, men being men, they should RE-STATE, with specificity, our RIGHTS pre-exist, and exist above the Constitution. (what is the saying? Tell them what you are gonna tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them…)
? Why is there a Bill of Rights ?
The Preamble enumerates the reason for the Bill of Rights.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
…in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: …
Read the Bill of Rights transcript, hosted at the U.S. Archives here.
Amendments I-X (1-10).
Notice the language of the amendments re-iterate protection of the INDIVIDUAL from the new Federal Government and from the State governments. POWERS NOT GIVEN OR GRANTED TO GOVERNMENT. Additionally, the State Governments are “protected” from the Federal Government.
Said differently, the Bill of Rights Protects Individuals from “governmental” power, action or coercion and State Governments from Federal power, action, and coercion.
What is the GENESIS, or REASON for the Bill of Rights?
How do we “put in context” the intent and meaning of this “new” Constitution with her Bill of Rights? We read the
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. …
(I have added bold, italics, and underline, to highlight the reasons for and RIGHTS, not privileges, of Mankind.)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Bill of Rights are not Rights granted by the Constitution or Government. The Bill of Rights are merely a RESTATEMENT that RIGHTS pre-exist and remain above Government. These Rights are LIMITATIONS upon Government towards INDIVIDUALS (mankind.)
The Bill of Rights are “unalienable Rights” which PRE-EXIST our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and cannot be transgressed (legally or justly) by GOVERNMENTS unless the People (INDIVIDUALS as a majority) decide together to do this as stated in the Declaration of Independence:
… it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Somehow Americans generally understand these concepts in contravention to a century of attempted indoctrination to the contrary. See this, 74% of Americans believe they have a :Constitutional right to own a gun.
“Mankind” understands, the right to self-defense. The only effective tool is an “arm”. Whether the “self-defense” is required for protection from an individual criminal, or gang, invasion from a foreign force, or subjugation by our own State or Federal Governments.
If those in Washington wish to “legally” ban arms, they must propose a Constitutional Amendment which eliminates and contravenes the 2nd Amendment, and which must be passed in accordance with Article V of the U.S. Constitution.