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The real 2nd amendment

1. Colonial History

In the 1760's England began exerting authority over the colonies. Colonists although British citizens could not vote, were not represented in Parliment and they could not sell bulk goods in the colonies but sent them to England and got only a fraction of the sale price.

At the end of the French and Indian Wars England was practically bankrupt and needed revenue which they tried to get from taxing the colonies. As the taxes increased the colonists became resentful and by the 1770's the colonies were a powerkeg waiting to explode. England started sending more troops to try and calm things down. It failed because the British military machine went rogue. Soldiers could be quartered in private homes without recompense, people could be tried by a mock military court (drum trials) and sentenced to death. ANYONE who whispered anything against, the crown or military could be siezed and sent to England or a prision ship. The last two things were violations of English law.
English law forbade citizens from owning guns. In the hinterland this was widely ignored but was still an offense and was the reason for Lexington and Concord. (Siezure of powder and Shot) This was the atmosphere that colonist lived in before the Revolution. In 1775 the whole thing blew up.

2. The Constitution

What is a constitution politically? Webster defines is as 7. the system of fundamental laws and principles of a government, state, society etc is organized. Nowhere does it refer to a Constitution as a document that promotes the rights of an individual.

As anyone who has written a theme or news article knows your present your main point in your openning comment. That is exactly what James Madison did. "We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union establlish justice insure domestic tranquility provide for the common defense promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America". This statement is obviously collective. It involves the whole of the nation as one entity. As far as I can see the individual is not raised above the collective but inferred as part of it.
IF the intention of the founders was opposite then why did 11 of the 13 states ratify it and their congressal representatives sign it?
The majority of the Constitution follows this theme as one would expect. Little or no evidence in the body of the Constitution is found for Individual rights over that of the collective. Again if this last statement is inaccurate why did the founders and thier representative states allow it to be signed?

3. Amendment

What is an amendment? Again Webster refers to it as 3 " in legislative or delliberative proceedings, a revision or change proposed or made in a bill, motion or law."
So the original amendments (12) were not stand alone articles but changes or revisons (modifications) to specific points within the Constitution.
What parts of the Constitution did the 2nd change or modify?
It was the intention of the founders that the military be small and comprised of a core of professional soldiers suppported by the various state militias. These militias would be citizen soldiers similar to what Switzerland had and has today. This inference can be seen in the wording of the appropriate part of the Constitution.

So what did the 2nd change or modify? Article I, Section 8 clause 15 " To provide for the calling forth of the militia, to execute the laws of the United States, suppress insurrection and repel invasion." Nowhere in this statement does it say that any task is the responsibity of the individual but of the collective (read Militia).
Article I, Section 8, clause 16 "To provide for organizing, arming adn disciplining the militia and for governing such a part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of officers andd the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."
This is the main focus of the 2nd and again does not mention that the individual has ANY rights to defend or protect the states or the federal governent EXCEPT as part of the collective (read Militia). This is also the only place in the final draft where any mention is made as to the size of the Federal military force.
Article II section 2 clause 1 refers to the ability of the US government to call up the militia as needed.

The individualists take the 2nd as a stand alone article which is contrary to the meaning of Amendment as I have shown.
The second amendment "to establish a well regulated militia for the security of a free state the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".
Simply refers to the arming of the state militia (citizen soldiers) as prescribed in the Constitution above. Therefore it is a collectivist statement.

3. Arguments
One of the more absurd arguments against the collective view is that whats in the Constitution was not what the founders intended. Ok? Then why was it there as written? This was to be the cornerstone of our country, the most important document they would ever work on and they got it wrong?
The second argument is that few founders agreed with it and they cite numerous qoutes in support. The logic of this argument is similar to the first. One of their main sources is Jefferson who was not present at the ratification. True there are statements by Jefferson that seem to oppose the collectivist view. but I prefer to believe what he told his wife in a letter written while he was in Philadephia during the Continental Congress. He stated that some of his fellow delegates were in favor of a federal army once freedom was won. Jefferson wrote that such an idea was beyond human understanding considering what the country was going through at that time. He finished the letter by saying he would oppose such a concept with every effort of his body. In short he believed that USA should have a militia that was already in existence during the war.

4. Post Constitutional History.

A. Individual ownership - From Colonial times and for the next 100+ years gun regulation in this country was based primarily on existing European model. The variant was the citizens in the frontier. In towns and cities east of the Apalachains it was illegal to own or display personal firearms except in very specific cases. The idea that individuals not having guns in the cities or towns was accepted generally with the populace. They saw the laws as prudent. Remember that all abled bodied men between 18 and 45 were expected to be part of the militia and so its was their patriotic duty to have guns for training and defense Even many of the frontier towns during our expansion west had laws prohibiting personal weapons within the town limits.

The caviot was the farms and settlers from Colonial to Frontier times. Jefferson and Madison saw the need for guns in these circumstances as did almost all of the population.
Up until WWI such laws against personal display and in some cases ownership of weapons was commonplace in urban areas. it was not until the end of WWI that this began to change.

B. Militia - From the Colonial days until after the Civil War our country held to the small federal military supported by the various state militias. At the beginning of the Civil War there were only 17,000 regular armed forces in a country numbering 40 million. Even during the Civil War most of the troops on both sides were militia or state volunteers. As such those persons eligible for service had their own guns but for the prescribed reasons outlined in the Constitution.
In the late 1880's and early 1890's the federal government began to incorporate state militias into the federal armed forces but these troops remained in their home states and trained there.
I'm not suggesting that we go back to a militia style military this is impractical. My goal is to show that the idea of individuals owning their own guns or displayng them has no historical merit and is not supported by the Constitution.
The individualist point out incorrectly that it is individual rights that support the collective. The error here is in the term individual rights. The individual is part of the collective and not a part from it. The individual is an integral part in the functioning of the collective (government) but has no special considerations afforded him outside of that.
The freedom of Speech, religion, assembly and others that appear to support the individualist view are there so that the collective will be able to grow and prosper from a sharing of ideas (speech), beliefs (religon) and from the sharing of both positive and negative views (speech/ assembly) towards the collective. This was an intentional act by the founders who saw with their own eyes the particular tyrannies afforded a people when these liberties are lacking.

I believe that I've demostrated the intent of the founders as stated in the Constitution. Individualists will point to several SCOTUS rullings since 1939 which seem to support thier view. My agrument is simple, The SCOTUS also ruled in the 1850's that a black man has no rights a white man need consider. This theme held until Brown v Board of Education 100 years later. The SCOTUS is a poltical organ at present and some day will get the concept right.

It is not my intention to try and change the radicals amongst the NRA and its allies. My intent is to see if there are some left who can engage in a reasonable conversation or at least see merit in what I have written.

There is a saying which I think is either Russian or Chinese which says "It is easier to crack an egg than a rock
Very well written. I tip my hat to you.
You make some very compelling points, are you going to start a thread for a discussion on your ideas?
Nice try. Next time you give a definition try giving the whole thing.

Webster defines Constitution as: The basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it

"To the people in it" indicates that the U.S. Constitution also was meant for individual rights, not just collective rights.

You also changed the words in the second amendment. The second amendment is: 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.
You changed the wording around from “people” to “citizens” which to me makes it sound more collective.

From "A Journal of the Times," calling the citizens of Boston to arm themselves in response to British abuses of power, 1769:
"Instances of the licentious and outrageous behavior of the military conservators of the peace still multiply upon us, some of which are of such nature and have been carried to so great lengths as must serve fully to evince that a late vote of this town, calling upon the inhabitants to provide themselves with arms for their defense, was a measure as prudent as it was legal. It is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the [English] Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defense, and as Mr. Blackstone observes, it is to be made use of when the sanctions of society and law are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression."
-Thomas Jefferson

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
-Thomas Jefferson

”[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
-James Madison

If the founders meant for the second amendment to only be collective (for only the militias) then please explain to me how other governments didn't allow their militias to own guns, like in the quote above by James Madison. They didn't. He and the founders clearly included individual rights in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

You said when talking about the first amendment: “This was an intentional act by the founders who saw with their own eyes the particular tyrannies afforded a people when these liberties are lacking.” The founders also saw how tyrannies afforded a people when the right for a people’s right to bear arms is lacking. Along with the providing of a militia, the founders also included this individual right to protect us from oppressive government, for the guarding of our property, and for hunting.
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wolfman wrote:
English law forbade citizens from owning guns.
which, as it is untrue, pretty much derails his whole argument

from a paper by the Second Amendment Foundation titled - Colonial Firearms Regulation
An examination of the Colonial statutes reveals that, contrary to Bellesiles‟s claim of distrusted and disarmed freemen, almost all colonies required white adult men to possess firearms and ammunition. Some of these statutes were explicit that militiamen were to keep their guns at home; others imply the requirement, by specifying fines for failing to bring guns to musters or church. Colonies that did not explicitly require firearms
ownership passed laws requiring the carrying of guns under circumstances that implied nearly universal ownership.
None of the Colonial militia statutes even suggest a requirement for central storage of all guns. None of the Colonial laws in any way limited the possession of firearms by the white non-Catholic population; quite the opposite.
Any rebuttals to James Madison quote?
After reading your blog, I agree with you. (BTW: I have subscribed to it.) ;)

The Second Amendment states:

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

Beforehand, I have already told some people this in the forum but I will reiterate it here:

The Second Amendment is all in one sentence; the subject of that sentence is "militia"; the sentence continues to describe the militia as "the people"; and an important adjective in that sentence is "regulated".
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