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Second Amendment Sophistry

Second Amendment Sophistry

by Michael P. Tremoglie
Former Philadelphia Police Officer

Of all the polemics regarding gun ownership, one of the most fallacious is the thesis presented by the North America’s Project (NAP) and its Director Andrew Reding. It is typical of the excruciating casuistry proffered by gun control zealots.

NAP is a venture of the World Policy Institute of the New School. It “explores issues of democracy, human rights, and environmental quality in the context of economic integration.” Project director Reding is an associate editor of Pacific News Service. Reding is described as having expertise in:

“Relationships between democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and international relations among states in the Americas.”

His work experience is: 

“Associate Editor, Pacific News Service, San Francisco (current); Vice Mayor of Sanibel, FLExpert, Bureau of International Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice and a Ph.D. from Princeton’s Department of Politics.”

Is Reding an expert in Constitutional law?

Apparently, the NAP thinks so. The NAP index contains a division on “Democracy and Human Rights in the USA,” which has a section titled, “ Misinterpreting the Second and Tenth Amendments.”

The section contains two articles. One is the “Origin of the Second Amendment.”  The other an essay in the Houston Chronicle dated July 1995.

“Origin” quotes the text from a proposed amendment. The article states, “On 27 June 1788, the anti-Federalists, proposed the following amendment to the Constitution.” What it omits is that this was just one of many such proposals.

The article also interprets the proposed amendment for us: “That text, edited down to the Second Amendment, explains its original purpose—to establish a "well-regulated" democratic army of citizen-soldiers instead of a professional army; not to encourage the anarchic proliferation of weapons in civil society.”

The National Guard mantra seems to be the latest canard making the liberal intelligentsia circuit.

The Houston Chronicle op-ed is written by Reding. He writes:

“Driving the … growing militia, gun, and property rights movements is a new political fundamentalism. Like its religious counterpart, it centers on scripture, a group of apostles, and a covenant betrayed by sin. But the scripture in this case is the U.S. Constitution, the apostles are the Founding Fathers, and the fall is the betrayal of our freedoms by federal bureaucrats.”

Notice the clever use of the word fundamentalist designed to portray second amendment advocates as determined to impose their will on the rest of society.

Reding continues:

“…the Second Amendment, which they believe empowers citizens to form militias… It is in their opposition to the Fourteenth Amendment that the militias find common cause with racial supremacists.”

Reding shrewdly compares gun owners to racial supremacists. He wants to appeal to liberal intelligentsia who identify gun ownership with the KKK--who united religion and racism.

Reding’s thesis is revealed in the remaining paragraphs: 

“What, then, was the role of the Second Amendment in protecting human rights? ….to rely on 'well-regulated militias'—not posses of self-appointed individuals—organized by, and answering to, the democratically elected governments of the various states. These militias existed until ….they were federalized into the National Guard by Congress.”

You would think that an academic organization such as the NAP and an intellectual such as Dr. Reding would have reviewed the definition of militia in the US Code before issuing such a pronouncement. Title 10 Section 311 states:

“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.”

Why did Reding and the NAP not inform their readers of this definition? They want to give their articles the patina of academic authority, yet they do not thoroughly research the subject.

The National Guard claim is sheer sophistry. I have presented only one of many refutations of it. Reding and the NAP merely parrot another myth of the gun control zealots.

Unfortunately, many of the intelligentsia are gullible enough to believe them.

Michael P. Tremoglie is a former Philadelphia police officer now a freelance writer working on his first novel. He writes for Front Page Magazine:

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