Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Well-Regulated Gobbledygook

Oh, gawd. Someone is making the whole "Second Amendment = Militia" argument again. This time it comes from Michael Tomasky over at the Daily Beast:
Congress should tell states, in the wake of this surely worse epidemic of gun violence, that they must put some substance into the phrase “well-regulated militia.” They must define well-regulated militia to include not only the National Guard, but all legally registered gun-owners in the state. If they fail to do so, and in line with the precedent set by the drinking-age act, they risk losing 10 percent of their federal law-enforcement funding.

Why not? Who could argue with such a move? It would be precisely in the spirit of the Second Amendment as worded, in which the right to keep and bear arms is granted within the context of the existence of such a militia. The founders spoke explicitly of said militia. So, let’s make it! 
So the Second Amendment was created to ensure the existence of a militia and not to secure an individual right, eh? Someone should give this man an award for originality. We could call it the "Originalism Prize" just for kicks.

The number of sources to which one could turn to eviscerate Tomasky's arguments are too myriad to list, but here's an excellent one, perhaps my favorite, featuring a quote from Michigan's Sen. Jacob M. Howard (in 1866, mind you), on the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (emphasis added):
The need for a more solid foundation for the protection of freedmen as well as white citizens was recognized, and the result was a significant new proposal--the Fourteenth Amendment. A chief exponent of the amendment, Sen. Jacob M. Howard (R., Mich.), referred to "the personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments of the Constitution; such as freedom of speech and of the press; ... the right to keep and bear arms...."

Adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment was necessary because presently these rights were not guaranteed against state legislation. "The great object of the first section of this amendment is, therefore, to restrain the power of the States and compel them at all times to respect these great fundamental guarantees."
So roughly 150 years ago, Congress was well aware that the Second Amendment---the right to keep and bear arms---was a "personal right," not a collective militia-based one. They passed the Fourteenth Amendment with this in mind. This is in sharp contrast to the Left's claim that the D.C. v Heller decision, which finally acknowledged that individual right, was a "modern" interpretation of the amendment. It was not; it was the correct one, stretching all the way back to the heroic early days of the Party.

In other words, liberals re-defined the Second Amendment and claimed their interpretation fits the original meaning. Meanwhile, they berate conservatives for hewing too close to the original meaning of the Constitution, a thing which they tried to do and at which they completely failed! No wonder they're so sour.

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