Friday, 14 November 2008

Right to bear arms

OK, this is way off-topic, but on a recent forum there was a discussion of the US Constitution's 2nd amendment "right" to bear arms. This is what one poster wrote:
But you're wrong in thinking that the 2nd amendment is about militias. The amendment 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."

The actual law here is the second part, the first part should be seen as an explanation of why the law was introduced. Basically it says "Because X we do Y". So the 2nd amendment is not about militias, it's about the right to keep and bear arms.
This is clearly a misinterpretation. A logical reading says if "X" then "Y". If "X" is no longer the case, then "Y" is no longer necessary. Also, if there is some other way to achieve "X", "Y" may not be necessary. If the amendment had been written as: "The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free State.", then this would have been clearer. It is also clear that "the People" have the "right... to keep and bear arms" within the context of a "well regulated militia", not as individuals. It's "the People", collectively, not "each Person". So the 2nd amendment is not about the right to keep and bear arms, nor even really about militias, it's about the security of a free state.

So the NRA and similar believers that the real right is that to bear arms are, frankly, wrong. Whether this is an honest mistake or a way of covering up their deep insecurities leading to the need to carry lethal weapons is a different debate.
Post a Comment