Gun Quotes : Well Regulated

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Well regulated, at the time (and for 100 years afterward) just meant "something being in proper working order”, well calibrated or functioning as expected.

"The words "well-regulated” is used as an adjective, modifying "militia," which is followed by the main clause of the sentence (subject "the right," verb "shall"). The right to keep and bear arms is asserted as essential for maintaining a militia.

~ Prof. Roy Copperud

Journalism Professor at USC. American Heritage Dictionary usage panel. Merriam Webster's cites him as expert.

"the Amendment does not protect “the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms,” but rather “the right of the people.””

~ D.C. Court of Appeals
(Upheld in Heller)

(2007)

If "well regulated" meant "under government control”, then it would no longer be a militia, but the army/navy.

~ Logic

"[t]he adjective 'well-regulated' implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training.”

~ DC v. Heller

(2008)

But even if we pretend that it did mean “government regulated” (which it doesn't), it would still be irrelevant, because it was part of a nominative/descriptive clauses, and thus whether the people should be able to keep and bear arms so they can choose to be part of a militia or not, doesn’t change that their right to do so, "shall not be infringed".

Civic Responsibility

There’s an even more expansive view, that “well regulated” points to the 2nd being more than just a 19th century usage of the term, "an individual right", but instead is the 18th century usage which means "civic right (civic responsibility)".

This is even worse for gun controllers, because that view means that you not only had a right to bear arms to belong to a militia, but you also have a civic duty as a citizen to do so (almost mandatory service). Which implies that anyone is failing in their responsibilities as Americans to NOT buy guns and become part of a well functioning militia. So the gun-controllers are better off with it being an individual right, than it being a civic one.

However, the invention that "well regulated" might be a back door to inventing new restrictions on the 2nd, wasn’t first heard until the 1960’s. (This was after the first wave of gun control in the 20’s and 30’s had only increased our crimes and shootings). So what this argument is arrogantly proclaiming is that in the 1960's they discovered a word ambiguity that the Founding Fathers, and their progeny, never knew of. Thus for the first ≈200 years of the country, every Historian, Linguist, Legal and Constitutional scholar or mind that had read these things, was too stupid to realize what the 2nd really meant, and thus we should ignore all that common sense and stare decisis (legal precedence, and history), because a few hippie progressives knew more than anyone and everyone else before them. Does anyone really buy that?