I was wondering, when reading the Second Amendment I could never figure out why there were two seperate topics in one sentence. I don’t think the use of a semicolon makes it two sentences. So since it’s one sentence, it appears that not only shall the right of the people to keep and bare arms not be infringed, but the government can’t infringe in Militias either. What do you think?
We have had several conversations on this point. The 2A affirms the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The part about the Militia is a prefatory clause stating one of the many important reasons the people need that right.
The leadership, funding and equipping of the Militia are handled in other parts of the Constitution.
Buckle Up Dude, You just opened the door to the over analysis of words, spaces, punctuation, what were they really thinking and surly you don’t understand crowd.
Hey I resemble that remark!
Several problems with your interpretation of the language.
Here is the Second Amendment:
"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 no semicolon, it is a comma. The prefatory phrase sets the context, but in no way indicates that only the people in the militia have their right protected. THe right is preserved for all the people.
- As written, the grammar is such that only “the right of the people…” is the item “not [to] be infringed.”
- It is essential to use the definition of militia as it was at the time of the writing, not as used by various private clubs or organizations fond training out in the woods in modern times.
Good question, and well worth discussing to help understand the amendment.
I would argue that the definition of Militia at the time or now is irrelevant as the right clearly belongs to the people and not only the people in the Militia. Otherwise agree with your statement.
The prefatory clause does seem to flatly state the necessity of the militia.
clause does seem to flatly state the necessity of the militia.
Yes, it does. However, the overall sentence does not indicate that only people in the militia have the right to keep and bear arms.
Of course. I’m speaking towards’ the OP’s question about, does the 2A also indicate the government cannot infringe on militias
But stating the necessity of a militia is not the same as saying the government can’t infringe on the militia.
If I am remembering correctly the Constitution gives several rights to Congress and the States to lead, equip, pay and otherwise regulate militias. The 2A only gives the uninfringable right to keep and bear arms to the people. Not to the Militia however it was or is defined.
Completely correct, and completely agree.
I chose my words carefully here, due to what you are explaining.
The 2A states the necessity of the militia and (IMO) indicates the government cannot infringe…but it doesn’t actually state that…whereas it very flatly and plainly states that the Right of The People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That’s strong-ass wording right there. The militia part isn’t as strong for sure but, there is something there to work with.
The legal strength of prefatory clauses is above my pay grade:)
I do agree that the constitution clearly expresses the intention that the defense of the Nation and local communities should rely on the Militia made up of able bodied citizens capable of answering the call. It is also clear the founding fathers wanted an armed citizenry and local Militias to be able to stand up to government tyranny and the threats a standing army could present to the people’s rights and freedoms.
Food For Thought
Alexander Hamilton – Federalist Paper 29:
The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, nor a week nor even a month, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and
evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss.
WE THE PEOPLE are the MILITIA
"1.A well-regulated Militia, (the Militia)
1a. being necessary to the security of a free State, (Militias purpose)
2. the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, (Peoples rights)
3.shall not be infringed." (Nottah, nope, nyet, do not pass go!)
So the militia to which is important to the security of a free state and the right of the people to keep and bear arms, all these things shall not be infringed upon.
Note that the “right” to keep and bear arms describes something possessed by the people, and not by the militia. The sentence begins with “a well regulated Militia” so what does “regulated” mean? Some argue that “regulated” means “provisioned” or “supplied” but the founders did NOT use those words, they used “well regulated” and then asserted that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
In my opinion, the plain meaning of “well regulated Militias” was the intent of founders to ensure that the people possessed the ability to “regulate” Militias (like the KKK, or the Proud Boys, or the 3%rs, or any number of organized, armed fringe groups, as well as the government’s deployment of armed Militias). Having arms gives individuals the ability to resist the tyranny of Militias.
Because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms will not be infringed. (My understanding of the ammendment.)
Florida’s Constitution regulates the militia (as the result of Post-Civil War misuses) by saying only the Governor can organize a militia unit. No Governor has ever done so. But the is irrelevant to the people’s right to own and bear arms.
Now that all non-felons in Florida can conceal carry (which was misnamed “Constitutional Carry”, we need to get full open carry to have real Constitutional Carry.
Personally, I wouldn’t open carry to keep the criminals guessing, but we now have draconian laws that jail people who inadvertently have a concealed weapon become visible. Currently, if someone bumps into you and causes your jacket to open and sees your formerly concealed weapon, you are more likely to go to jail and lose you firearm and the person who exposed you weapon is unlikely to face any charges.