More on what the 2nd Amendment means
To the editor:
As the death toll from gun violence mounts we are told that because of the Second Amendment nothing can be done to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. That is false. You have to wonder how many of those who make that argument have ever read the Second Amendment. A careful and open-minded reading of its mere 27 words gives the lie to that argument.
This is what the Second Amendment says: “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 are a lot of poorly informed folks who think that we should ignore the first 13 words of the amendment and pay attention to only the last 14 words. They would have us believe that the framers intended those 13 words to have no meaning, a legal nullity, without meaning and purpose. They imagine it to read: “To ensure the freedom of individuals against the government, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That’s not the Second Amendment.
It is obvious that the framers were focused on “well regulated” state militias which could be called out by the state government to protect “the security of a Free State.” The words “well regulated” and “security” show the framers’ intent. Consider that the framers were wealthy and well educated men who certainly would not have wanted to have a bunch of gun fanatics forming militias, to overthrow the government.
What were militias intended to do? Find the answer in Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution which spells out the power of Congress to call out the militia “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”
Let’s pay attention to what Representative Paul Torkelson and Senator Gary Dahms do to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, while upholding the true meaning of the Second Amendment.
John H. Burns