Tag Archives: Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

Those who beat their swords into ploughshares will soon be plowing for those who didn’t!

A little prestidigitation – a sleight of hand with the organic law – and you have a debate. When you have a debate that implies that there is more than one side to the question. Edit the Ten Commandments to say, “Thou shalt not kill,” and you have something very different from, “Thou shalt do no murder.”

In much the same way Cornell is playing a little trick here. The Bill of Rights is concerned with INDIVIDUAL rights that become COLLECTIVE when applied equally to all citizens. The one thing flows from the other and without INDIVIDUAL rights there can be no COLLECTIVE rights. So Cornell’s entire argument over whether this is an INDIVIDUAL or COLLECTIVE right is specious. Worse than that it seems, or presumes, to create a debate where there is none.

NO means NO when you tell it to a child and when you tell it to a government – which is infantile in its preoccupation of having an insatiable appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. The Bill of Rights is all about limiting government power, in articles one through nine with regard to individuals and in article ten in limiting the central government, and none of these articles have ever been repealed to the best of my sure and certain knowledge. Observing them may not always be the easiest route to follow but then again neither is following the Ten Commandments and while they are more honored in the breach than the observance they are still on The Book.

A well-regulated militia : the founding fathers and the origins of gun control in America  Saul Cornell Firearms ,Law and legislation ,United States Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006 Book. xvi, 270 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [219]-261) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG  

Americans are deeply divided over the Second Amendment. Some passionately assert that the Amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns. Others, that it does no more than protect the right of states to maintain militias. Now, in the first and only comprehensive history of this bitter
controversy, Saul Cornell proves conclusively that both sides are wrong.

Cornell, a leading constitutional historian, shows that the Founders understood the right to bear arms as neither an individual nor a collective right, but as a civic right – an obligation citizens owed to the state to arm themselves so that they could participate in a well regulated militia. He shows how the modern “collective right” view of the Second Amendment, the one federal courts have accepted for over a hundred years, owes more to the Anti-Federalists than the Founders. Likewise, the modern “individual right” view emerged only in the nineteenth century.

The modern debate, Cornell reveals, has its roots in the nineteenth century, during America’s first and now largely forgotten gun violence crisis, when the earliest gun control laws were passed and the first cases on the right to bear arms came before the courts. Equally important, he describes how the gun control battle took on a new urgency during Reconstruction, when Republicans and Democrats clashed over the meaning of the right to bear arms and its connection to the Fourteenth Amendment.
When the Democrats defeated the Republicans, it elevated the “collective rights” theory to preeminence and set the terms for constitutional debate over this issue for the next century.

A Well-Regulated Militia not only restores the lost meaning of the original Second Amendment, but it provides a clear historical road map that charts how we have arrived at our current impasse over guns. For anyone interested in understanding the great American gun debate, this is a must read.


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