Gun Quotes : Militia Dependent

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Another common wrong-headed argument is that "you’d have to be in the militia to qualify for the 2nd’s protections".

But they’re failing at English and what many English scholars have said about that argument. The "well regulated militia" phrase is an "nominative absolute” phrase which can be ignored. It is merely explanatory (descriptive) and dependent on the rest of the sentence (not the rest of the sentence is a dependent clause on it). Since you ignore nominative/descriptive clauses, the 2nd can be read, "The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.”

I like to offer the following example to demonstrate it to those being resistant:

No one would read THAT as you have to be a well-schooled electorate in order to keep and read books. The right to keep and read books must not be infringed, so we can all participate in a well schooled electorate.

"Shall not be infringed" is not the type of wording one puts in, when something is conditionally dependent on something else.

Historical Context

Remember the history: the colonists', war of independence was started when the British army marched on Lexington and Concord to try to enforce a recently-passed 'assault weapons' ban. Paul Revere's ride with "the British are coming”, doesn’t make sense out of context: the British Regulars had been in America all along. (We were British). The point of the cry was to warn everyone that, "the British military was coming to take away our guns!” The king had said we did not need our own arms, we must trust the king's army to protect us! (Which means the ability to defend ourselves, and self determine our own fates as free men). And that’s much of what started the revolutionary war (and the shot heard ‘round the world’).

This nation was founded on freedoms (including gun freedoms), and to guaranteed no more encroachments on individual liberties. The founders felt that government/politicians would be less likely to infringe on the rights of individuals knowing that they might be shot for doing so, or that corrupt laws could be resisted if politicians passed them anyways. That’s why they didn’t create standing armies (in times of peace), but only armies in times of need. We may have evolved to allow standing armies later, but that doesn’t change the intent for individual liberty of self-defense, nor eliminate the rights of the people to have their own guns. What are the odds the 2nd protection of liberty that these folks write into the constitution, is going to say, "we just fought a war over protecting our right to self defense and determination, but in the future, we want people to only be able to own guns if they are part of our army/militia". It's not only a wrong argument, it's historically non-sensical.

To remove any doubt of that, here's quotes that back up what they were thinking:

“Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and the keystone under independence... The rifle and pistol are equally indispensable... The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that is good."

~ George Washington

"Any society that would give up liberty to gain security, deserves neither, and will lose both.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

"The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun.”

~ Patrick Henry

Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”

~ Alexander Hamilton

The Federalist Papers (No. 184-188)

"Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion...in private self-defense.”

~ John Adams

A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787-88

"The peaceable part of mankind will be continually overrun by the vile and abandonded while they neglect the means of self-defense....Weakness allures the ruffian but arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe and preserve order in the world.... Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them....and the weak will become a prey to the strong.”

~ Thomas Paine

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…"

~ Richard Henry Lee

1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.

"A government resting on the minority is an aristocracy, not a Republic, and could not be safe with a numerical and physical force against it, without a standing army, an enslaved press and a disarmed populace.”

~ James Madison

The Federalist Papers (No. 46)

"Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion...in private self-defense.”

~ John Adams

A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787-88

"The Second Amendment is not the right to shoot deer, it is to defend your liberties if we're taken over by tyrants” (or the collective)

~ Judge Andrew Napolitano

(New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at Brooklyn Law School)

" "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 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment, 1764

"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

letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, found in The Complete Jefferson, p. 322

Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.

~Tench Coxe

Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

"The Constitution of the United States shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”

~ Samuel Adams

Massachusetts U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788
Also Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, Aug. 20, 1789

Those don't sound like quotes from people likely to say "only those beholden to the State Military should be able to own guns". Separatists that had been driven out of England, then driven into war with England (the largest power in the world), were damn well not going to make the mistakes of becoming slaves/wards of their new government by saying only government drones could have guns.