Sunday, January 31, 2016


First, please see the post below which has links to relevant material.  Please post your comments to this post.

Enjoyed the presentation, questions and rebuttals.  From the questions it appeared that some did not get one of the main points.  I assume this was my fault and I went over my lecture notes.  The notes did not seem adequate on this point and I apologize.  Below is what I meant to say.

Why put an opening or prefatory clause in 2nd amend, when nothing else is the Bill of Rights has one?  You must remember that many political or government documents like constitutions are not only law, but they are often contain explicit or implicit political statements. 

Thus, If we are codifying this right of individuals, why talk about militia? There are two main reasons.

Although the prefatory  (‘militia)clause does not have a  legally limiting effect on the operative  (‘right of the people’) clause, it is logically related, as Scalia notes,  at the time, of drafting the amendment, the militia was composed of  all able-bodied white males. These males brought and used their own personal weapons.  thus,  a right of individuals to keep and bear arms enhanced the idea of such a militia, and, according to the anti-federalists,  made it difficult for the federal government and select-miltias to disarm the people.   Remember, however that the right actually codified was a pre-exisiting individual right that was not limited to militia service.  thus the right is designated ‘a right of the people” and not “a right of militia members.”

Finally, the Drafters may have wanted to make clear what are NOT reasons that the individual right were codified. The right was not codified

1  to encourage another  armed revolution, or 

2.  to encourage vigilantism.
I hope this helps.  I look forward to your comments.



  1. Hard to read the Preamble to the Bill of Rights and not then agree with the NRA view of the Second Amendment. The purpose is to avoid abuse of power by the State. Difficult to do that without an armed citizenry having the power to say, "No mas."

    Note that in the usage of the 18th Century, the word "regulated" in the militia context had to do with skills, competency and ability, not today's rules and regulations.

    Insofar as original intent, that's easy: Read the letters among those who wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Jefferson, Adams and others. They not only took an armed citizenry for granted, they called for people to be skilled in the use of arms.