Do Gun Nuts Really Want to be Literal?

The second amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:

“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.”

The average gun nut generally chooses to ignore that first part, the first few words that modify the rest of the sentence, that part that makes all that stuff about the “right” of the people to bear arms not being infringed apply specifically and only to that militia. Gun nuts and the rest of the reactionary, libertarian, fanatical right are real good at that, pretending that the parts of the Constitution that they don’t like don’t exist, like that meaningless stuff about not establishing a religion.

But I digress.

When presented with this argument, the gun freaks have an answer, an answer based on their belief that the founding fathers were all both super religious and themselves, gun freaks, who though that they were writing a constitution for all eternity, that based on 18th century society could write a law of the land that would suffice for the people of a society whose needs, whose beliefs, and whose technology was never imagined at that time.

But still, they find in the words and writings of those guys, an answer for everything, and their answer for the militia issues is found by many of them in the words of George

Mason, who when asked (why he would be asked that is anyone’s guess, if in fact, he ever were actually asked that) What is a militia” he is said to have responded that the militia “is the whole people”. Thus, they extend the “right” to bear arms, uninfringed, to everyone.

But if you want to dig a bit deeper, and get even more literal, then one sees that even that argument fails miserably.

It seems that soon after the new country ratified the new Constitution, and got around to passing federal laws and all that, a law was passed, circa 1792, that told the American people just exactly was the militia was, which was every free male of a certain age. So, right off the bat, it appears their interpretation of the second amendment was wrong, as that uninfringed right extended to

neither men too young, men too old, nor to any women at all, and certainly not to slaves.

A law that served a purpose more than 200 hundred years ago and then was removed from the books you say? Wrong, gun freaks, wrong! Federal law TODAY includes an interesting little statute, 10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes, that says the following:

“(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32*, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.”

So if the second amendment were to be interpreted to mean that the uninfringed right to bear arms extended to all Americans by virtue of all Americans being part of the militia, they would be so, so wrong, as clearly that militia specifically excludes all males under the age of 17, virtually all males over the age of 45, and all females except for those who had served in the National Guard.

So, lets see some meaningfull regulation on the purchase, ownership, and bearing of arms by males under 17 and over 45, and all 157,000,000 American women who are not now and who never were in the National Guard.

*section 313 expands section 311 only slightly: “(a) To be eligible for original enlistment in the National Guard, a person must be at least 17 years of age and under 45, or under 64 years of age and a former member of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or Regular Marine Corps. To be eligible for reenlistment, a person must be under 64 years of age. (b) To be eligible for appointment as an officer of the National Guard, a person must (1) be a citizen of the United States; and (2) be at least 18 years of age and under 64.”

About theHoundDawg

For many years as a lawyer, I saw much of the good and bad of society, and did what I could to right many wrongs. The lack of understanding of what is good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, as evidenced by such events as the election of King W as president, (who as such far surpassed the evil of richard nixon but not quite that of ronald reagan) lead me in a new direction, to spend my time trying to understand what is happening to our society, to try as best I can to spread my insights to others, and along the way to maybe even eke out a living through the internet.
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