Sunday, January 18, 2015

IrreX2 Style: Analyzing the Second Amendment to the US Constitution

It's a contentious issue, this 2nd Amendment.  You know the one.  It's the one with "... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms..." in it.

I'd say 99% of the people who argue it don't even understand it.  Both the anti-gun douchebags and the pro-gun nutcases get it wrong.  Constitutional lawyers and politicians attempt to politicize their end-goals, so we should all operate under the assumption that they're trying to lie to us.

(Of course, given the nature of hypocritical rhetoric, you all think the lawyers and politicians who agree with your worldviews are, by nature, "right."  You should learn to fuck yourself once in a while.  It'll help with the ego-centrism.)

Let me pause for a moment and offer some disclosures:


  1. I am drinking cheap Merlot.  Surprise, surprise.
  2. I support gun ownership.  I don't believe any type of firearm should be restricted from responsible citizens.
  3. I support a modicum of gun control.  Namely, limited licensing and registration (which I'll touch on below).
So, where was I?  Oh, yes... cheap Merlot...

No, wait... that was the other day.

So, where was I?  Oh, yes... most people don't understand the 2nd Amendment, at all.  And, instead of figuring it out, they just hide behind their preferred political interpretation of the amendment, be it "everyone can own guns" or just "militia members can own guns."

Extremists, beyond those interpretations, take it even further.  You've all heard the arguments.  The faaaaaar right will say something to the effect of, "Not only can I own whatever firearm I want to own, nobody needs to know what firearms I own!"  The faaaaaar left will say something to the effect of, "It's an archaic amendment written for another time."

Another disclosure: I'll tune out any motherfucker that claims either one of those things.  Because they're both totally wrong and they're likely both fucking morons anyway.

Well, then... now that I've established that 99% of the US population are idiots, including those smarter, better educated, and sexier than I am, I should probably explain the 2nd Amendment to you.

Let's start with its text, shall we?


"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."

That's what it says, verbatim.  Bad grammar and punctuation in place (which is what causes a lot of the problems).

But what does it mean?

Well (brace yourselves, anti-gun crowd), it means that people get to have guns.

But why does it mean that?

Well, I'm glad you asked.  This is the part of the debate that is the most overlooked and flat-out ignored.  But to explain it requires taking a couple of steps back, so bear with me.

First, let me ask, what is an amendment?  Most of us know, but for the sake of explanation, an amendment is a change to something.  All of the amendments in the Constitution exist because something in the original Constitution prevented or precluded something from happening.  This should be obvious.  Sadly, it's probably not.

What should be obvious to everyone reading this, however, is that the authors of the 2nd Amendment identified something in the original Constitution that needed to be changed.

And what, pray tell, was that?  Well, it was a particular line in Article 1, Section 8.


(The Congress shall have Power) "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

Do you see it?  Take a moment.  If you don't see it, that's fine, because I'm about to tell you what it amends.  But, if you don't see it, realize that, yes, you were in the 99% I was talking about.

And, yes, this blog entry is extremely comma heavy.  It's sort of a joke, given that the 2nd Amendment has comma problems, but... yeah... well... oh, fucking forget it.

Anyway, here's what the 2nd Amendment, er... amends: "To provide for organizing, ARMING, and disciplining..."

Do you get it?  Take a moment.  If you don't get it, that's fine, because I'm about to tell you how it works.  But, if you don't get it, realize that, yes, you were in the 99% I was talking about.

Article 1, Section 8 as written in the US Constitution basically puts the onus on arming the militia (and, hence, the populace) on Congress.  That means Congress has to pay for all those guns, issue all those guns to militia members, and maintain and replace all those guns as necessary.  Basically, in what could be the most powerful gun-control legislation ever, the Federal government had complete control over who was armed in America.

But, America had just fought a government they once loved, so the 2nd Amendment was offered up and approved as part of the Bill of Rights.

Trivia for you: the 2nd Amendment was actually the fourth article of the Bill of Rights.  The first article was never approved and the second wasn't approved until 1992, becoming the 27th Amendment.

Sorry... I get distracted sometimes.  Where was I?

No, no, no...

Oh, yes... America had just fought a government they once loved, so the 2nd Amendment was offered up and approved as part of the Bill of Rights.  Basically, the authors of the 2nd Amendment removed the power to arm the citizenry of the United States and gave that power to the citizenry themselves.

And that's that.  Seriously.  That's where it's been since 1791.  To the joy of some; to the chagrin of others.  Regardless of where you stand on the issue, however, the fact that the 2nd Amendment gives individual Americans the right to keep and bear arms is irrefutable.

Sorry, anti-gun douches.  That's the way it is.


So, obviously, a whole helluva lot of people have argued other interpretations of the 2nd Amendment.  They're mostly wrong.  Let's do a quick run-through of some of the points.
  • The "it only guarantees the militia can be armed" interpretation.  Nope, sorry.  For those who want to argue the "archaic Amendment" point, this is an easy sell: at the time, the "militia" was literally every able-bodied man between certain ages.  Not only that, Article 1, Section 8 leaves the definition of a militia up to Congress, but that was part of the problem.  For those who are willing to forgo the "archaic Amendment" point, the 2nd Amendment specifically states "the right of the people," and NOT the responsibility of the organized militia.
  • The "militia is the National Guard" argument.  Nope, sorry.  Not only is this one legally irrelevant (see above... the National Guard is also NOT "the people"), the National Guard was formally made part of the Federal armed forces in 1940 (via an amendment of the National Defense Act of 1916).  So, for all intents and purposes, the National Guard is the Army, and is therefore soooooo not the point of the 2nd Amendment.
  • The "militia are the state defense forces" argument.  Nope, sorry.  Let's back up a moment... most Americans have no idea that many states maintain independent "state defense forces" (22 states, to be exact, plus Puerto Rico).  These forces are not subject to Federal call-up, short of what they're allowed to call up for militia duties (which are to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions).  Regardless, though "state defense forces" are legal militias, they still do not encompass "the people."
  • The nonsensical "the militia IS the military" argument.  To be honest, I heard this one for the first time tonight, which prompted this rant.  It's horseshit.  Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution is extremely clear on the differences between the Armies, the Navy, and the Militia.
For reference, here are the parts of Article 1, Section 8, that deal with the military of the United States:

(The Congress shall have Power) "To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

"To provide and maintain a Navy;

"To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;"

Anyway, the militia is NOT the military.  It is, in fact, the people.  And the people are allowed to have guns.  Cut.  Dried.  You may want to change it, but stop trying to claim it's not so.


You know... I'm more than a little drunk right now.  I'll address this question in a future installment.  Most of you will be surprised what my stances on gun control are.

'Til next time!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Jeff - I used this as the US civics lesson for today. -J