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News & Editorials

Amending the Second Amendment


The Constitution
Second Amendment

"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."

Over and over and over again we have been the victims of terminology.

Innocently and with no intent to deceive, the original recorders of American history attached the word "Revolution" to the armed struggle between the Thirteen English Colonies of North America and the military forces of the King of England. And the term stuck. Throughout American History those battles and their ultimate outcome have been called the American Revolution.

But it was not a "Revolution."

The dictionary defines "Revolution" as the forcible overthrow of a government. Our Forefathers did not do that. Castro's overthrow of Batista was a revolution where the existing leaders of the former government were deposed and executed. The same has been true in virtually every other "revolution" - Russia, France and too many African nations to count. But the early Americans did not depose King George. He retained his crown and position.

If it was not a "Revolution," what was it?

Originally, they did not seek either independence or a different form of government, all they did was petition the King for justice and more freedom to determine their own destinies. When the King repeatedly responded to their petitions with harsher and harsher measures, becoming even more despotic, it finally reached the point where they had to either defend themselves or bow down and accept the chains of the cruel and arbitrary exercise of authority so common to the European Kings.

Therefore, it was not a revolution. When they had no other choice, they took up arms to defend themselves against the shackles of tyranny.

Contemporary Terminology

Today, particularly since the Columbine killings, the terminology of the anti-freedom/pro-crime bunch is not innocently misleading. It is designed to deceive. And anything that is designed to deceive is a lie, put forth with the very purpose of creating doubt as to the intent of the Founding Fathers and the meaning of the Second Amendment. All this is intended to undermine our resolve.

First, the anti-freedom/pro-crime crowd (formerly known as antigun) has long advocated the notion that the Second Amendment does not protect and guarantee an individual's right to keep and bear unregistered, undocumented firearms. Feeling secure that having repeated it so many times over a long period there is doubt in the minds of the people and they are now free to and have advanced to the next stage - a step by step, gradual imposition of "reasonable" controls and restrictions on the ownership of firearms which will eventually lead to confiscation.

If the right to keep and bear arms was not intended to be retained by the individual, it is one of the most closely guarded secrets of the debate and ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. In fact, all the hard evidence points in exactly the opposite direction. To wit: James Madison introduced the amendments that were to become the Bill of Rights. In notes for his speech proposing the Amendments, he wrote, "They relate first to private rights." William Grayson, in a letter to Patrick Henry, said, ". . .a string of amendments were presented to the lower House: these altogether respected personal liberty." A week following that, Tench Coxe referred to the Second Amendment in the Federal Gazette as "the people are now confirmed . . . in their right to keep and bear their private arms." Samuel Adams warned, "The said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience: or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."

To fortify their contention, the anti-freedom/pro-crime bunch put a second face on the lie. They ask us to believe that the phrase, "the right of the people" in the Second Amendment actually means the right of the state to maintain the militia mentioned in the Amendment, and that the "militia," in fact, has been replaced by the National Guard which provides weapons for its members. Therefore, they would have us believe, there is no "right" retained by the individual.

To begin with, this is a shameful disregard of historical fact. For many years prior to and during the inception of the Second Amendment, political writers used the term "well regulated militia" to mean the citizenry as a whole, led by officers chosen by themselves and armed with privately owned weapons. The men who offered and approved the Second Amendment used it in this manner. Richard Henry Lee, who originally did not think the Bill of Rights was needed but later became a staunch advocate, wrote, "A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves. . .and includes all men capable of bearing arms . . .To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms." The correspondence and the documents of the time are replete with similar references.

To bring this subject into the contemporary arena, we need to look to the words of the Supreme Court in U.S. vs. Miller (1939). "The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the (Constitutional) Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. . .bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."

And here again is where terminology has taken its toll. The argument put forth by the anti-freedom/pro-crime crowd has centered on the word "militia" and, they continue, since we have a powerful military to protect the nation from foreign invasion there is no longer any need for privately owned firearms. But that is not the controlling element. Let's look again at the Second Amendment to see what it is actually saying.

Second Amendment

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 writers of the time, the Founding Fathers and the Supreme Court have made it perfectly clear that the militia is made up of the people, all of whom own and bring along their privately owned firearms when they answer the call to duty. That has been well established and is not open for discussion except by those who wish to perpetuate the lie.

But there is one word in that first clause that provides the key. Since they deemed it of such importance that it warranted a separate amendment, the question has to be - what is the purpose of maintaining a well-armed population, which becomes the militia? That clause says the militia is "necessary to the security of a free state." It doesn't say, "necessary to the security of the state." It says, "necessary to the security of a free state." Therefore, the "necessity" is not to preserve the state, it is to preserve freedom.

This nation came into existence, not because our forefathers wanted the power for themselves which is the most common thread of so-called revolutions, but because the reigning authority had pushed them to the point where they had no choice but to defend themselves from the shackles of tyranny. After listing the grievances, the third to last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence makes this clear:

"In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

They knew that the philosophy of freedom they had just defended and established, codified in a Constitution severely limiting the power of government, would make it more difficult for that same government to become oppressive, but not impossible. Aware that power-seeking politicians could and would find ways to wiggle around prohibitions on paper, they knew they had to leave future Americans the right and the means to, once again, defend themselves from the shackles of tyranny should the need ever arise. The only way to ensure such security of a free state was to be sure that the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms could never be infringed. No tyrant can long endure when the people have sufficient firepower to defend themselves against continued and encroaching oppression, providing they have the will to use it. As reflected in the written records the Founding Fathers left for posterity, that is exactly what the Second Amendment was intended to accomplish.

Clearly. . . clearly, the men who wrote, debated, enacted and finally ratified both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were of the full understanding that the freedom of the people to keep and bear arms sits as the guardian on the same bench with speech and press as one of the inalienable rights they ascribed to in the Declaration of Independence. In fact, a well-armed free people is the only real guarantee that the other rights will long endure.

It is time to close the door on the liars, shut them out, bar the entrance so they can never again gain access in their quest to destroy the most essential, the most basic guardian of freedom - the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms.

Therefore, we propose the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

Our Amendment


Clause 1. A well-armed population being necessary to the security of a free people, neither the Government of the United States, a State nor any sub-jurisdiction within a State shall enact any law, rule or regulation prohibiting the ownership of or requiring the registration of firearms. Nor shall the Government of the United States, a State or any sub-jurisdiction within a State enact any law, rule or regulation inhibiting the sale or purchase of firearms or require the sellers of firearms to produce or keep any record of the name, address or other data which might identify a purchaser.

Clause 2. Within thirty days of adoption of this amendment all records or registration or any data identifying owners or purchasers of firearms shall be destroyed. Congress shall enforce this clause with appropriate legislation.

Clause 3: Nothing in this amendment shall be construed to deny the States the right to prohibit and penalize possession of firearms by any person convicted of a felony involving violence against another person. However, the right of the States is limited only to prohibit and/or penalize possession on the person. This right is specifically denied to the Government of the United States.

Clause 4: Neither the Government of the United States, a State nor any sub-jurisdiction within a State shall levy any tax against firearms or ammunition that is not common to all other products.

Clause 5: Within one year of ratification of this amendment all states shall adopt and implement a must-issue policy to issue concealed carry permits to all citizens who have never been convicted of a violent felony. All states shall afford full faith and credit to permits issued by other states to an individual to carry a concealed firearm.


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Most reporters are very sympathetic to gun-control agendas and will skew or lie outright about facts to promote them. DENNIS CAUCHON, USA TODAY

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