Stephen A. Frye safrye at CONCENTRIC.NET
Thu Aug 28 15:09:41 MDT 1997

>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 first part is not a clause - hence the definition of a NON-RESTRICTIVE
clause is irrelevant.  It is a phrase - specifically, a nominative absolute
- which is syntactically used to modify a clause.  To wit: "A parenthetical
phrase which qualifies a whole clause or the rest of the sentence but which
is not grammatically related to it by a connective.  It's basic pattern is
usually a NOUN + PARTICIPLE. (This construction is often called a
nominative absolute, a sentence modifier, or simply an adverbial phrase.)"
(Hodges/Whitten, page 423).

>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....")

I will still refrain from agreeing or disagreeing with your interpretation
of the amendment.  I take issue only with your interpretation of the grammar.

Stephen A. Frye

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