The Supreme Court Got the 2nd Amendment Right

By: Jim Byrd

“On every question of construction of the Constitution, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” — Thomas Jefferson

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: 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.

What is the original textual meanings and intents of words “militia, people, and state” in the context of the Constitution and its ensuing amendments by the framers? Does it protect an individual’s right when addressing people or does the term people refer to the state? And is it limited to a state’s militia possessing guns? And without a state militia is there no fundamental individual right to own or possess a firearm?

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the original intent of Second Amendment in the case of Washington, D.C. v. Heller with a vote of 5-4. This was the first time since the ratification of the 2nd Amendment, in 1791, that the court has ruled as compressively as it did, yet, leaving enough common sense subjectivity in the ruling for reasonable restrictions.

Heller petitioned “whether the Second Amendment guarantees law-abiding, adult individuals a right to keep ordinary, functional firearms, including handguns, in their homes.” The Supreme Court chose not to review the questions petitioned, but write their own question(s). The Supreme Court’s rephrased question: “Whether the following provisions, D.C. Code secs. 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02, violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?”

On its path to the Supreme Court, the case passed through a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals Washington, D.C. The panel ruled 2-1 that the gun control laws in D.C. were unconstitutional. In the lone dissent, Justice Karen LeCraft Henderson wrote that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms relates to those Militia whose continued vitality is required to safeguard the individual States.” She also stated, with axiomatically repressed anarchy, that she believes the District should be immune from the Second Amendment because it is not a state. According to Justice Karen LeCraft Henderson’s ideology, Washington D.C. would be immune from the entire Constitution, and its 27 amendments. Judges like Henderson, and other spawn from the same genus, who share the same lacunal qualifications, are the personification, and the definitive literal definition, of anarchy.

After the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the 2nd Amendment, and the suspense had abated, attention was leveled at the farcical dissents that would surely follow. Stevens inaugurated the obtuse.

In his dissent, and staying comfortably within the rigid boundaries set by the benighted reprobates consisting of himself, Ginsberg, Souter, and Breyer–Stevens argued that the majority’s “law changing decision” gave gun rights to individuals that were never there to begin with through a “dramatic upheaval in the law.” He also went on to point out not what the 2nd Amendment said, but what it did not say, he focused on the 2nd Amendment’s “omission of any statement of purpose related to the right to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense.”

Justice Breyer, in a separate dissent, stated that, “In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.”

This is the de regueur behavior of agenda driven judges. Since the use of firearms for hunting and self protection was not explicitly written into the 2nd Amendment, they believe that it cannot be explicated–unless of course it advances their agenda. One must wonder, then, about the problematic formula in reaching the Roe v. Wade decision. There was no constitutional language to support Roe, only the conjectured penumbra theory of privacy to concoct legislation from the bench.

To further their constitutional hypocrisy, liberals and their constitutional anarchist judges have stretched the boundaries of constitutional interpretation beyond the breaking point when it serves their purpose, yet they want to read the Second Amendment so narrowly they could thread it through the eye of a needle. To get an even further grasp on the left’s biased opinion of the Second Amendment one would only have to read the ACLU’s opposition of individual rights concerning the Second Amendment or the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The ACLU and the influential anti-gun organization, The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, are infected with hyperbole, self-serving conjecture and outright lies. Neither can produce one factual statement backed up by historical antithetical evidence that would legitimately contradict the decision by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller v Washington D.C.

Does the Second Amendment guarantee an individual the right to have a gun for private use, or does it only guarantee a collective right to have guns in a militia such as a state’s National Guard? Does the first clause in the Second Amendment limit the last clause in the amendment?

Let’s not focus on laws, court rulings, municipal ordinances, or opinions by the left or right. But take a common sense approach to the 2nd Amendment from a purely historical view. Let us try and justify the left’s point of view on the 2nd Amendment with a few questions. If answered, it should clear up the matter once and for all: What was a militia during the time of the Constitution? If it was something other than armed citizens who grabbed their muskets off their mantels when called upon, what was it? If the 2nd Amendment only prescribed for militias to own and use firearms, who were the militias and where would the firearms be housed in between skirmishes? Did perhaps Washington and Adams co-own a warehouse to house firearms? Since most everyone owned a gun at that time, why were they left with their guns after the ratification of the 2nd Amendment, and why were they not confiscated? Why was there not a federal agency formed to confiscate the guns and control them until the militia was called up? Why was there not a firearms case presented before the Supreme Court for almost 200 years? How were the majority of the populace going to hunt for their meat? How were they supposed to protect themselves against hostiles, since there was not an army, police force, nor sheriff’s office?

Presented will be two arguments, one prejudicially concurring with the current ruling supported with historical and judicial evidence concerning the language of the amendment. The opposing argument will be supported with historical and judicial evidence concerning the language of the amendment contrary to the right of an individual’s right to own a gun.
Historical arguments and evidence supporting an individual’s rights to be armed:

The amendments were not written to give rights, but as a restriction on the Federal Government from abridging individual’s rights beyond the limits already set forth in the Constitution. The framers did not invent the right to keep and bear arms when they drafted the Second Amendment, it was a pre-existing right under Common Law (Blackstone Commentaries on the Law…“natural right of resistance and self-preservation”, espousing the individual right to protect oneself.) and previously part of the original 13 state’s constitutions.

The Framers had already addressed the issue of a militia in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution(To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions). Why was it addressed again in the Second Amendment, and with the addition of guaranteeing individual’s the right to bear arms? If the framers had meant to limit it to the “state“, why did they add the term “people” in the amendment? It was added for the same reason the other amendments were added–to double guarantee that a particular right would not be infringed upon by the Federal Government. Without the strengthening of rights, via amendments, the states would not have ratified the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has ruled, in other cases, that the term “people” means “individuals” in the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments.

There is little need for conjectural interpretation of something if you have a categorical definition of its meaning by its author(s). In the case of the Second Amendment there are annotations by George Mason, James Madison and the other crafters of the Second Amendment. There also exists the records of the debates for the ratification of the Second Amendment. A few notable attestments and quotes from the men involved with crafting the Second Amendment:

• “The great object is that every man be armed and everyone who is able may have a gun.” – Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution
• … to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
– George Mason
• I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”
- George Mason
• No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
– Thomas Jefferson
• “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and
better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for
an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
-Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria.
• “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
– Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188
• “Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” –Patrick Henry

These men either wrote or were instrumental in the ratification of the Constitution. Is there even a diminutive amount of subjectivity to their concept of the personal ownership of firearms, for any reason?

The Whiskey Rebellion started when four counties in western Pennsylvania refused to pay an excise tax on whiskey that had been levied by Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton in the Spring of 1791. In 1794 the civil protests turned into an armed rebellion known as the Whiskey Insurrection. As word of this spread, many forms of many loosely organized revolts began in the region by robbing the mail, interrupting courts, assaulting tax collectors, etc. Washington raised a militia force of 13,000 men. Under the command of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and General Henry Lee, the militia marched into Western Pennsylvania in October of 1794 to quell the insurrection. The rebels were never found but the militia did arrest 20 people. They were all pardoned by Washington.

Why is the Whiskey Rebellion relevant to the Second Amendment? The Whiskey Rebellion happened five years after the ratification of the constitution and its amendments. A militia, under Washington’s lead, marched to engage armed individuals. With the ink on the Second Amendment not fully dried when the armed insurrection happened, and if the amendment’s original intent was as the current day anti-gun liberals claim it was, then where was the outrage at individuals being armed– especially when attacking government officials? Why did Washington, upon his return to the capital not try to enforce the lack of an individual’s right to bear arms? Why did he not encourage legislation for gun control? Because it was a right that he, and the government, knew was off limits.

From the date of the ratification of the Constitution and its amendments, there was not a law abridging the rights of individuals to possess arms until 1934 with the National Firearms Act. The reason there was not a firearm’s law was simple– it would have been unconstitutional. FDR’s National Firearms Act, along with a plethora of unconstitutional acts and laws by his administration, came after 147 years void of challenges to the Second Amendment at the Supreme Court level.

As Jefferson stated in the quote at the beginning of this article, the spirit and intent of any clause in the Constitution and its amendments can be found by reading the debates and the author’s explanation of their text and thoughts. Starting with the Roosevelt administration, liberal, anti-gun zealots have been the source of the most dishonest constitutional scholarship against the right to own a gun. The Constitution and its amendments have either been so broadly interpreted as to be unrecognizable to their original intent, or in the case of the Second Amendment, so narrowly and dishonestly interpreted to have, as Jefferson stated, the text ”squeezed and re-invented” to conform to the whimsical ideology of the day.

Historical arguments and evidence to support that an individual does not have the right to be armed: Sorry, no credible information on record.

About The Author Jim Byrd:
Jim Byrd's website is A Skewed View.

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