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The 2nd Amendment

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"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 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States has been highly contentious over the last 200 years. Some people argue that it has nothing to do with giving individual people the right to bear arms, but instead focuses mainly on militias to keep and bear arms. And yet other people say that it means both a militia and individual people's right to bear arms. And still more people interpret the 2nd Amendment for various more reasons.

What do you think the 2nd Amendment is supposed to mean?

Is it about militias only? About individual people's right to keep and bear arms? Or both?

What's the difference? Historically (and the Constitution must obviously be interpreted in the historical context in which it was written), the word "militia" simply meant "armed citizens", nothing more (in fact, to this day this is still the primary definition in some dictionaries). This is also close to the definition listed in U.S. Federal law:

--- Quote from: U.S. Code, Title 10, Section 311 ---(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.
(b) The classes of the militia are -
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

--- End quote ---

The U.S. militia consists of all U.S. citizens except women, children, the elderly, and disabled. The Second Amendment states that allowing these citizens to take up arms is necessary to ensure the security of the country (presumably against everything from criminals to enemy invasion). That's the plain meaning of the words, and there's not much room for interpretation.

Why not women? Surely they can help defend the U.S. just as much, if not more, than the men can.

Old Rabbit:

--- Quote from: Kobuk on June 16, 2016, 11:03:59 pm ---Why not women? Surely they can help defend the U.S. just as much, if not more, than the men can.

--- End quote ---

Women did fight along with the men. Seems I remember reading of a woman who
helped fire cannons after her husband was killed. Mostly women cared for the injured
and sick though.

One needs to remember 200 years ago women were looked at in a different light.
Just house maids and bearing children. Partly a religious and cultural belief that
women should be protected by the menfolk. A belief many probably have yet today.

Also 200 years ago people needed firearms for hunting, and protection against
wildlife, and indian raids. Not counting the odd thief. I have always felt those
who wrote the consiitution knew colonial powers might try to invade one or more
of the states. So having a armed citizenry might well be needed. Mobilization of an
army took much longer in those days.. Also having it in the constitution helped
prevent some idiot or treasonous politician from disarming the citizens of a state
in the future.

We tend to forget about colonization, a practice that pretty much ended with
world war II .

Of course some people feel since the state doesn't need citizen militias any more
the second amendment no longer applies. Thats another reason having it in the
constitution was a good idea. There will always be short sighted people who are
looking for quick fixes. Good or bad.

cause the rat:
There's nothing wrong with the 2nd amendment. There's a ton of things wrong with the NRA.


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