Little has been written about the second amendment to the US Constitution that has not been previously expressed or debated in one way or the other. As we progress from a currently “cold” civil war towards one that grows significantly hotter, I believe that the following interpretations and understandings are both insightful and timely.
James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights and his first draft consisted of 17 amendments, eventually becoming ten. This is what his original draft of what would become the 2nd Amendment said:
“A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no one being religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”
Madison himself answers the question that the anti-gun Left has always pondered regarding the impact and meaning of the word “militia.” He says, “A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people…” In other words, everyone and anyone who is so inclined is a de facto militia member by virtue of being a citizen of the United State. Madison states that the best security of a free state are her armed citizens.
Of the 7807 words that makeup the Constitution, the word “infringed” appears only once, in the second amendment. The Latin root of the word “infringe”, means to break or weaken. The single largest collective fear the founders shared was the eventual expansion and over-reach of a federal government. States rights were by design to be stronger than the collective federal power. Combine this concept with the God-given right of self-defense and you can see why the word “infringed” was used exclusively in the context of the 2nd amendment. Just as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are by God inalienable, the “infringement” of a right to self-defense via firearms undercuts those freedoms.
It was generally and unanimously understood that the citizens are the final arbiter of freedom, self-defense, self-reliance, and self-governance. Not only were the founders supportive of the peoples natural rights to self-defense through the tools of firearms, it was an expectation that the collective community would, by way of being adequately armed, insure their own safety and security and provide the check against the tyranny of the government by virtue of the preparedness of an armed citizenry.
Today, the founder’s fears are largely realized. The linkage of the State’s legislatures and the US Senate have been traded for direct elections, severely weakening the federalism concept. Fear mongering foments cries for disarming citizens under the canard of insuring their own safety when nothing could be further from the truth.
The second amendment will underwrite the second civil war that this country has already commenced. We are still in the talking stages of this conflict however, the re-election of Donald J. Trump will sound the bell for the second round, and the time for talk will be over.