• Ken Kraushaar

why arguments against 2a don't jive....

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

"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.”- 2nd amendment, bill of rights. Advocates of gun control argue that “well regulated” means “controlled” due to common word usage today. They argue that the wording of the second amendment allows for governmental regulation. However, in order to understand the original intent of the second amendment, one must look to the original word usage, which also includes obsolete definitions, in order to glean its true intent. Failing to do so inadvertently, or intentionally, (depending on your belief,) narrows the scope of a freedom which is granted that is a means to protect all other freedoms we enjoy.

The obsolete definition of “regulate” (read: no longer in use today, but used at the time of the ratification of the bill of rights,) follows this in that its uses also mean “to be well maintained”, or “to be in good working order.”

Further,in the oxford English dictionary "Regulated" has an Obsolete definition (b) "Of troops: Properly disciplined" and then"discipline" has a definition (3b) applying to the military, "Training in the practice of arms and military evolutions; drill. Formerly, more widely: Training or skill in military affairs generally; military skill and experience; the art of war."

By this word definition, we find that the amendment can be read to understand that “a well-regulated militia ( a militia that is is properly disciplined/practiced,) being necessary to the security of the Free State (our country, free of the tyranny of which our founders fought against), the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

To be in good working order or well disciplined, the militia, (or any fighting force for that manner,) had to be trained and well versed in the usage of their arms, as such, they must had to have ready access to their arms in order to train and then become proficient enough that when called upon, they were able to use them, i.e. the training must be constant. This training can be in the form of drills, target practice, or even hunting; any means with which the members of the militia (the people) had for training with their firearm.

This same corollary can be seen with most serious defensive shooters, hunters, or competitors who have firearms in modern days: they train, and they hunt; they shoot paper targets, skeet, etc. all in order to be able to use their firearms for their intended purpose and with skill. Those who can actually use them properly keep their skills sharp from constant use, regardless of the intent (personal safety, hunting, target shooting, and competition.) Hunters, Militia Members, and Competitors also have to know tactics, whether it be for stalking prey while hunting, tactical training for militia (i.e. anyone who is a part of the militia), or tactics for competing against top level shooters. It is a common-sense requirement of ownership and safe operation that your firearms be in good working order or “well regulated” and that you have proficiency in their operation and usage.

Another point against governmental control of access to arms with regards to how our most founders felt about it we can look to their letters and writings on the matter. In reading their writings you can often see an inherent distrust of the government, and a standing military, which were often used by the monarchy in other countries to take control, and was always preceded by the disarming of the public, so as to remove the threat of rebellion. In fact, one of the things the British did was try to seize arms and powder prior to the war of independence, to disarm the colonials.

It is for this reason that we can assume that they wanted arms to be in the hands of the “people,” because the people were the ones who would be relied upon in times of revolution should the government become tyrannical, and they (the people) would ultimately be the ones to take back control, and preserve liberty and freedom. The military, as the founding fathers knew too well in the case of the British military, became a tool which the tyrannical government turned on the people in times where forcible control was concerned. This is shown in a quote from George Washington himself:

“Standing armies… have at one time or another subverted the liberties of almost all the Countries they have been raised to defend.” (Writings of George Washington, 388.)

This sentiment of distrust can also be found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson:

“What country can preserve it[]s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms, the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacifying them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is nature’s manure.”

They knew from experience, that the only entity which was capable of preserving what they fought for so dearly, was the people. Not the government, and not the military, because ultimately both could be corrupted. We have to ask ourselves and question how then can it be said that the founding fathers wanted arms to be regulated by the government, when they feel this way about the government in general? The quote from Jefferson even indicates that sometimes the only real change that can be made comes with the deposing a corrupt government by force.

It should be noted that our founders had actually noted that within 40 years of a government or a ruling class disarming the public, the situation almost always goes to being bad enough that the people become oppressed by that government or ruling class, due to no longer having the safeguard that is the people being armed against such a situation, and as such, the noted that it was necessary for revolt to make any real change. This is, unfortunately, not accomplished just through words or press, but by people rising up and fighting, as we can see through our own revolution. This is what our forebearers had to do, as did many other of their counterparts in other revolutions across the globe, and at various times in history. This is also why the notion of governmental figures saying that they ‘know what’s best’ for the people is so dangerous: because individuals do not and cannot have the capacity to know what’s best for all of the people; individuals can only self-govern and do what’s in their own best interest; we have a representative system in which the elected officials govern on behalf of the people and are ultimately bound by the will of the people they represent, but as is often seen on both sides of the aisle, the reality can be different. Ethically, they cannot and should not act based on their will, their likes and dislikes, alone if they are truly representing the people, because what they represent goes beyond the individual. Our founders understood this, and it can be seen throughout the bill of rights in so far as what rights were given to free peoples (irrespective of race, color, or creed,) precisely because of what had been stripped away from the colonies by Britain, in large part because of the huge expense from the French and Indian war, and the debts it now owed, which is sought to remedy in the form of taxes levied upon the colonies.

Gun Control Advocates will then point to technology, stating that the founders couldn’t have possibly foreseen the advances in arms and capabilities, and so surely they wouldn’t have wanted these arms in the hands of the people. These advocates, unfortunately, rarely have knowledge beyond what glancing searches of Wikipedia or poorly opposition editorials tells them. The reality is that our founders knew all too-well the advances of technology, as many of them would have known of some of these advances which we take for granted in modern times. During the war of independence, the founders, for instance would have known rifled barrels. French Rifles were sought after and used to devastating effect against the British, who were still armed with less accurate smooth bore muskets, they were used to devastating effect when employed in non-traditional battlefield tactics.

By the early 1800s, the youngest of our founders would have seen the advent of the percussion cap and contained powder (a Scottish development,) as well as the first cartridge based firing systems (developed in 1809) which would serve as the basis of the design for Mauser rifles in the late 1870s. The first repeating rifles which critics are aware of (lever action rifles) were put into effect in the 1860s, although the founders knew of multi shot rifles in their day, as the Puckle gun which was patented in 1719, was a multi-shot, multi-barreled rifle which was mounted on a tripod. It was capable of firing 63 shots in 7 minutes; The first Gatling guns, which gun control advocates use as an non-factual marker for the length of time between the founder’s time and the development of “machine guns,” were developed in 1861, a full 142 years later, even though they functioned on the same principle. Breach loading rifles, (of which all modern rifles are classified,) such as the Fergusson Rifle, which was employed by the British, were around in 1770 as well, a full 6 years before the revolution.

Realistically, then, it can be said that the founders would have been keenly aware of the advancement of firearm technology and where it was going, and actually bore witness to some of these technological developments. In fact, they may have seen even greater leaps in firearms advancement than we have when one considers the fact that in the last 100 years, modern firearms technology has been stagnant, with most designs of hunting rifles or modern sporting rifles, in addition to the military arms that we see today, are currently based off of rifles that were designed either in the late 1800s or the 1940s, 50s and , 60s, (with the most recent semi-automatic rifles being based off of technology developed between 60-80 years ago,) while many true machine guns (fully automatic,) still operate similarly to those rifles that were developed in the early 1900s.

Those who would say that the founders were incapable of any technological advances which bear similarity to modern times only need look at Jefferson’s Monticello to see just how brilliant men of that age were. In considering these examples, it is safe to say the founders were indeed capable of understanding much more than they are given credit for, least of all the creation of better arms and armament because the early versions of firearms and firearms actions we use today were in use and in development at the time of the revolution, or within 30 years of it. even a cursory glance at a firearms history book would enlighten one to the prospect that gunsmiths were constantly playing with designs to make guns more efficient, shoot faster, and do more.

Defeated by this logic, gun control advocates will then say that against the might of the US military, (if it ever was turned on the people,) there would be no chance of victory, which is a rather defeatist statement and not based on any sort of reality. Again we can look to not only our own history, but recent history as well to prove this simply isn’t true. Time and time again history has shown that even against large technological odds, those willing to fight can and do succeed in driving back "invaders" or oppressive government, thus negating another fallacy gun control advocates will use which is the notion that there is nothing the average armed citizen could do against our military in the case of revolution. The French did it in their revolution, our forefathers did it in our American Revolution, the Viet Kong in Vietnam did it to the point where the war in Vietnam can’t be considered a victory; the Afghanis did it twice, once against Russia, and again against the United States military, the Irish IRA did it against the British, which, like the US is a nuclear armed nation. How then is it impossible for us to fight our own military when we, as citizens, are better armed and generally better practiced than some of those countries are?

This very notion, that we can fight and succeed, is what preserves the security of the free state- our willingness to keep it free, and our willingness to fight for that freedom. Our Founders fought and died for what they believed in and what we cherish: our freedoms. The whole point of the second amendment is to give the people the ability to protect all other rights in the event that governmental and judicial avenues fail the people.

Next, we look at the statement “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The sentence does not say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, as the government sees it, shall not be infringed,” it makes direct reference to the same people whom the government serves and who's ‘inalienable’ rights are affirmed in the bill of rights, meaning, these are rights which are not to be interfered with, as the founding fathers found them all necessary to liberty and freedom of “the people;” it is the same people protected by the first amendment, and in fact, all the other amendments included in the bill of rights.

Again we note: the amendment says nothing of government oversight, or government regulation, it simply states that the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, with the first sentence actually serving as a qualifier, i.e. why it is that the right of the people to keep and bear arms not be infringed: for the security of the “free state.”

This is was notion was not only in reference to the individual states, but as the country as a whole, which can be evidence by such governmental titles as “secretary of state,” which again, is not a title referring to any particular individual state, but rather, all states within the “united states.” Further, it was for the defense of the Free State from any threat, not just foreign threats. What many do not realize is that the bill of rights is not a limiter to the people, but rather a limiter of the government. it is this document which establishes what the government cannot do.

At the time it was written, the founders recognized that the militia was all able bodied men, ages 18 to 45. There was no standing army, and the notion of which was verboten in so far as our founding fathers were concerned. Keep in mind that, at the time of the founding, 45 was the average life expectancy for most men. Further, again, we reference the notion that the founders were against a standing army, and that the only check against such a force was the armed populace.

The Dick Act, further expands this. It establishes that the militia consists of all able bodied men ages 18 to 65, and could be called upon should the need arise.

Unfortunately, people will point out that Justice Antonin Scalia ruled bans on certain weapons would not violate the 2nd amendment rights, however, it is clear that while Justice Scalia was a proponent of original intent, he either did not investigate the matter fully, or he did not make his assessment based off of what the original intent was, nor was he looking at the matter with a view of how the original document was written and how those words were defined at the time they were written. Without doing this, one cannot possibly glean an idea of what the founders' intent truely was.

What both sentences allow for are the people to be armed, well maintained, or in good working order, meaning trained so that they can be called to the protection of the state when needed, and that as a necessity, infringing upon the people’s right to keep and bear arms (which also protects the ability to train with and use them as such,) is not to be done by the government.

If we look back towards another Supreme Court case, we will see that the court, a statement made by a Judge serving at the time 3 years after Justice Scalia was born, already indicated as such:

Supreme court case United States v. Miller, in which Mr. Miller was charged with violating the gun control act of 1934 by transporting a sawed off shotgun across state lines. Mr. Miller contended that his arrest violated his 2nd amendment rights. In the ruling, the court established that it was believed Mr. Miller’s rights had not been violated as there was no established “military need” for a sawed off shotgun. Further, it can be said it establishes that personal firearms can be regulated so long as there is no military use, i.e. connection to the military or military use.

This ruling, and this statement, as written, therefore potentially establishes that the second amendment allows for the possession of arms that are of military use, i.e. firearms that are conducive to use in the militia and in the defense of the country. Ironically, when people argue that the amendment doesn’t mean you can have a bazooka for instance, the previous interpretation handed down by the Supreme Court in 1939 does seem to indicate that the only arms “the people” have a right to, are those with some military use, i.e. those that would be most conducive to protecting the state. This would include everything from side arms, to rifles, to anti-material rifles, to bazookas and cannons, keeping in mind that there is no sporting, hunting or personal protection need for bazookas or cannons. Keep in mind, for a time, privateers were actually allowed to have ships with cannon aboard them, which was common in the times which predate our country's founding.

Further, in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess firearms independent of service in a state militia and to use firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, including self-defense within the home.

In essence, Miller establishes that citizens are allowed to have firearms which are consistent with military use, and Heller establishes that it is an individual right independent of service in the official militia (National Guard, state militia, etc.) These two rulings would indicate that it is unconstitutional then, to limit access of lawful gun owners to handguns or rifles due to politicking by Gun control advocates, and that doing so, infringes upon the right to keep and bear arms based on the determination of these rulings.

Therefore, with that in mind, we can read the second amendment’s intent as: “A militia (consisting of all able bodied people of the United States) (which is well practiced and disciplined) being necessary for the security of the free state (our country,) The right of the people (individuals as defined by constitution,the supreme court and the bill of rights itself) to keep and bear arms (which have explicit use in the militia in defense of the country) shall not be infringed.”

What this means is that any attempt to enact gun control which explicitly bans the use of firearms which are ideal for military purposes, or hampers the citizens’ ability to be well practiced with their firearms as intended by the bill of rights and our founders, is unconstitutional and forbidden by the Bill of Rights; equally so, any ruling which attempts to usurp or restrict the abilities granted by the 2nd amendment of bill of rights to the people is contrary to the intent of the bill of rights, and is also unconstitutional. Again, the 2nd amendment isn’t for sporting or hunting: it is quite simply the people’s ability to arm themselves against a threat to themselves or their country.

This doesn’t mean that there can’t be checks and balances, as long as they don’t infringe upon the basic mechanism of the right which is: to have arms and the ability to readily train with and use your firearm should you chose to own one. What it does mean is you can’t eliminate the basic rights or aspects of them. To do so opens the door not only for the loss of this fundamental right to political jockeying under the premise of safety, but it also opens the door to systematically strip down the rights, we as citizens are protected by. The book 1984 is a great example of this fear, and is a cautionary tale in which the government retains so much control that the people are no longer free, and ultimately, it is this type of situation in which the 2nd amendment is based, protection of freedom, all of them, not just the ones the government via politicians have decided we can enjoy.

A government that is by, of and for the people, is just that, it does not control the people, it is meant to serve them; but should they fail us by attempting to usurp our power as free men and women, to become our rulers at it were, then the ultimate protection against that very real potentiality stands as the second amendment to the constitution- that which protects all other rights, and ultimately protects our freedoms should they ever be threatened, and should they ever come under attack. Food for thought to be sure, and worth meditating on why it is that we're willing to give up rights, instead of the much more difficult task of holding people accountable for their own actions, abuses, etc., the crux of which is a much more complicated and psychological topic for another time.

as always, stay safe and happy shooting.


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