Second Amendment Sophistry
Second Amendment Sophistry
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:
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
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
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.
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
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
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;
(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 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
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:
the Second Amendment Police Department
The Second Amendment