The Second Amendment: Does Anybody Get It?

By Russell D. Longcore

The so-called conservatives say that there should be no restrictions to keep and bear arms for Americans. They say that it’s all about self-protection.

The so-called liberals beat the drum for outright bans on firearms, saying that disarming Americans will make our nation safer.

Both of them are wrong.

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads:

“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.”

Let’s spend a few minutes using our powers of reason to just simply read and understand.

Take the first two phrases. Any way you rearrange the words, the message is that a well-regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State. The Founders were talking about the thirteen sovereign nations, each considered a State in the same manner as any other sovereign nation around the world. They had no intention that the united States were to be considered a new nation. They were equals to Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, etc…and every one of the European nations used militias. For more about the use of militias in history, visit Militia at Wikipedia.

So the Founders were stating the obvious…that a free State had to have a well-regulated militia to be considered secure. What is “Security?” The ability to defend itself against invasion or aggression by another political entity.

What does “well-regulated” mean? In the common usage of the 18th Century, it meant the property of something being in proper working order. The opposite of a well-regulated militia would be a chaotic assemblage of men with weapons without training.

So, you could restate the first two phrases as: “A militia in proper working order is necessary to the security of a free sovereign nation.” This is especially important when you consider that under the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, the Federal Government was prohibited from having a standing army for more than two years, as well as providing for and training the Militia.

The underlying reason for the Second Amendment was not individual self-defense. The underlying reason for the Second Amendment was the security of the new thirteen sovereign nations.

Now for the last two phrases…”the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The phrases are starkly plain. You have to intend to misunderstand the words if you do misunderstand them or redefine their meaning. Let’s examine the penultimate phrase.

From whence does the purported right to keep and bear arms spring? Natural law. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are “among these,” not the only ones. The right of self-defense…to protect one’s self and/or others in your charge from harm…is so obvious it should almost not have to be pointed out. And “arms” are not only firearms. Nearly anything can be utilized as arms, or weapons.

But please consider: at the time of the Revolutionary War, did not the Continental armies possess the same technology of armaments as the Redcoats? Yes. Hadn’t the Colonial citizens owned and used firearms since the early 1600s? Yes! Did the English soldiers have cartridges for their rifles while the Colonials had only musket and ball? No. Musket, ball and cannon were the leading technologies of the day.

Actually, colonials had rifles more modern than the Redcoats. The rifles carried by the British were inferior to the long rifles of the colonials. A large number of the colonial rifles were the Pennsylvania rifles, made by German immigrant gunsmiths with spirally grooved barrels (rifling) that spun a ball leaving the barrel, increasing both its distance and accuracy. The British “Brown Bess” muskets were only marginally accurate to about 100 yards, while the long rifles of the Patriots could reach out easily past 300 yards. Colonials were also “armed” with hatchets, swords, daggers and bayonets. The Colonials also had modern cannon, as modern as anything the Redcoats used.

Did only the King have the ability to build ships, forge cannon and cannonball? No. John Paul Jones was a privateer, which is basically a government-sponsored pirate, preying on English ships. His first wartime command was aboard the ship Providence, owned by New England businessman John Brown. The Providence bristled with cannons.

Yet the issue of advancing technology was not an issue that the framers of the Constitution even considered worthy of mention. These were learned men, and were well aware of the technological improvements that were made in weaponry just in their lifetimes. They knew world history and knew that guns and gunpowder were relative newcomers to the art of war.

Both of the combatants in the Revolutionary War had the same technology in armaments. The Continental armies consisted of fighting citizens, taking up their rifles and pistols, forging cannon and going to war against superior numbers in the British army and navy, but not against superior weapons.

Therefore, when it came time for the framers of the Constitution to write the Second Amendment, they did not even mention the possibility that the private citizen should be prevented from owning the same weapons as the military. Why? BECAUSE THE MILITIA WAS THE MILITARY!!! Could it be that they considered the threat of government tyranny greater than that of citizens owning military weapons? Why else would they write the Second Amendment in the words they chose?

Finally, the last phrase…”shall not be infringed.” The Webster’s Dictionary defines “infringe” in two ways pertinent to this discussion; from the Latin “infrangere”:(1)”to break; to violate or go beyond the limits of: (2) to encroach upon. The “right” is the thing not to be infringed by government. Therefore, the Second Amendment states that the right to keep and bear arms is one that is endowed by our Creator under natural law and shall not be broken, violated or encroached upon. It validates the concept of personal property ownership, in this case one’s own person, and the principle of self-defense.

The Second Amendment is not about hunting, or sports or being disarmed by any government. It’s not really even about personal self defense. The Second Amendment is about the security of a free State, and the necessity of a militia in keeping that state free.

I hope and pray that someday secessionists and state independence movements will fully embrace and openly discuss The Power Of The Sword.

Secession is the only hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2011, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

17 Responses to The Second Amendment: Does Anybody Get It?

  1. This is a good article and will give folks some truth if they will just absorb it. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with Uncle Joe being able to go squirrel hunting on Saturday morning but it has everything to do with citizens defending themselves against a tyrannical government that exceeds its constitutional mandate.

    • Louisiana Steve says:

      “….but it has everything to do with citizens defending themselves against a tyrannical government that exceeds its constitutional mandate.”

      The tyranny started all the way back with Lincoln declaring war on the CSA without provocation and that tyranny has been growing ever since up to the insanity we now have today in the federal government. Any move on the fed’s behalf to void the 2nd amendment may well be the trigger to another revolt.

  2. The clearest simplest dissertation on the 2nd Amendment that I have ever read and done with an eye to what the mindset of the 18th century really was like. Those enemies of a free people both foreign and domestic will ever seek to disarm those that would oppose them——–get use to it and keep your powder dry,.

  3. GunRights4US says:

    I don’t disagree with a thing said here. But I would add this one point. There is still something that trumps the 2A; and I am referring to that un-named, un-numbered, unalienable right that is a transaction solely between a free man and his creator (or between him and Insert your personal inspiration Here).

    This right predates all declarations by man or mankind, and it simply says I can defend myself by any means at my disposal. It cannot be infringed by any congress, or supplanted by any executive order.

    On the down side: Rigid adherence to, and the exercise of, this right can result in being re-introduced to that creator earlier than expected.

    On the upside: The 2A, being so much the doormat it has become, no longer concerns me. Each new infringement sends ripples throughout the gun community as everyone reassesses where they stand on this or that. But I need no longer fret over it.

    • dumpdc says:

      Dear Gunrights- I don’t fret either. I used to be concerned whether or not I had enough guns. But my friend Tom Baugh pointed out that come the shyt hitting the fan, there will be guns lying around that you can pick up and use…the guns of your enemies and the predators. So if you only own one gun, become an expert with it. Most of your enemies aren’t experts. Check out the Appleseed Shoots, where you can learn to be a rifleman. Cheers, Russ

  4. Grog says:

    When Madison drafted the BOR, he studied the rules that the states had enacted, and drafted the 2nd after these. Some of the original language was edited out because of the thinking of the time, but that makes the 2nd no less relevant today.

    Read Section V


  5. Highlander says:

    The founders specifically wanted the peopel to be armed as well or better then any standing army. The Militia was comprised of EVERY male between the age of 16 and 60 and they were expected to be proficient in the use of thier individual arms and to attend Militia drill on a given date and time according to the laws of that town/county/state. Most often it was twice a year.

    As an aside the “Brown Bess” was not a rifle but a smooth bored musket. Most people owned some form of musket with the rifle being a frontier/long hunter arm of choice. Hunting muskets had better accuracy by using a tighter fitting round and using shot. The Short Land Pattern Musket (Brown Bess) had a .75 Cal barrel but used a .69 Cal round, losing accuracy for increased rate of fire.


  6. I wish you’d been more clear about the fact that all citizens are entitled to possess any weapon they choose, REGARDLESS of whether it’s in use by any military, and that the phrase “and BEAR…SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!” AS WELL!

    Post restoration, I doubt this will be a problem…..

  7. Yank lll says:

    Defining an interpreting our rights enumerated in the Constitution has been beaten to death for the last 50 YEARS
    They, the Domestics dont give a damn because our Liberty is a roadblock for their agenda, all of the hagling is a distraction and all they will settle for, ever, is subjugation and surrender.
    Pearls before Swine !
    Yank lll

  8. sofa says:

    Great post. There ya go, thinkin’ again!

  9. The Third says:

    I am compelled to offer a correction regarding your quotation of the text of the second amendment to the Constitution.

    After reading J. Neil Schulman’s absolutely-a-must-read-if-you-haven’t-already book “Stopping Power” – I now make a personal point to discuss with people (when it comes up in normal conversation – I mean, I don’t spend any time on a soap box on my street corner, or anything like that… Yet…) the correct text of the amendment as ratified in 1791. If you have the book, check out p. 162 for the details.

    The amendment was adopted in the following 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.”

    There is only one comma – and any “extra” commas you might see quoted in print – and which some cite as changing the meaning of the amendment – are not in the original text as ratified.

    I have the same little pocket copy of the Constitution a lot of other folks do and it has the same error in it…. Makes me go, “Hmmmmm.. How did that get there ?”

    I believe that every time it gets misquoted, it perpetuates the misconception ; and based on some of the arguments I’ve seen put forth on the subject of “2A”, those extra commas give rise to unbelievably creative editing and misinterpretation. And we all know what that leads to…

  10. Fred Slice says:

    The Second Amendment is ambiguous crap. It could mean anything.

  11. True Patriot says:

    Unfortunately the premise of the article is dead wrong. If one reads the requirements of a militia one finds it was universal, mandatory, and self equipped. Not equipped by the state. By well regulated the founders did not mean well organized, but fuuly equipped and functioning.” And that responsibility was not the State’s but the individuals.

    To state that the intention wasn’t for self defense defies commonsense. There were no police forces, only the citize3ns. Now why would the state require people to be armed if they didn’t intend for him to be armed? Further are we to believe civilians could only use these arms when the militia was called up?

    To accept these premises requires the willing suspension of reason and judgement.

    • dumpdc says:

      Dear True
      Common sense has not been suspended here. The 2ndA is about the security of a free state, and has its foundation in the Unalienable Right of self defense. Subtle difference but profound. Thanks for writing, Russ

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