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.
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.
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, 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.”