John Bush jbush at POST.CIS.SMU.EDU
Thu Aug 28 08:43:05 MDT 1997

On Wed, 27 Aug 1997, Mike Wangsmo wrote:

> >        Ages ago, when I was a student in Taiwan, I had a
> >        philosophy professor who was intensely interested in
> >        American government, and was constantly asking me
> >        questions and stating opinions.  One of the most
> >        strking things he said to me was, "Such a government
> >        you have, one that does not fear the free ownership of
> >        firearms by citizens.  A marvelous government!"  Of
> >        course, being a snot-nosed liberal freak at the time,
> >        I tried to argue the other side.  But now, with
> >        arthritis invading my joints and gun ownership being
> >        threatened, I treasure the Second Amendment.  We know
> >        this much, at least: A government that fears its people
> >        cannot suffer them to own firearms.
> Careful stating the "fact" that the 2nd amendment guarantees you the right to
> gun ownership.  The second amendment only states that ".... to maintain a
> regulated milita, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".  I
> honestly think this does not apply to random citizens, but rather to civilian
> milita organizations such as the national guard (key phrase: well regulated).
> I really would hate to see this issue make it to the Supreme Court to be
> tested as to whether this applies to Joe Q. Public as I think that may be
> ruled not protected!
It is so sad that our educational system has been dumbed down so much
that the 2nd amendment's meaning is no longer intuitive.  Here is the
linguistic breakdown (as a traditional legal form or just plain

The 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

The first part of the amendment (A well regulated Militia, being
necessary to the security of a free State) is a NON-RESTRICIVE
clause.  It is explanatory, but not an integral part of what follows.
If you read legal documents, you will note that there are pages of
"whereas..." before you get to the actual statement that has legal
bearing.  This is exactly that, and nothing more.

The second part of the amendment (the right of the people to keep and
bear Arms, shall not be infringed) stands on it's own.  It is not
the right of the militia or the state--it is the right of the
"people."  (You remember, "We the people....")

If you allow the Constitution to be butchered, twisted, and
manipulated by a dozen judges in Washington in this case, don't be
surprised when they step on your toes down the line somewhere (like
maybe freedom of speech or something.)

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