"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." To me as an American, means that in order for a citizen to keep and bear arms, he or she had to be part of a regulated militia. At that time in our history, we did not have a regular army. Instead we had militias that were sanctioned and regulated by states and counties. That is how I read it and I think anyone with any common sense would read it.
Additionally, at the time of the constitution, punctuation was used very differently. Today we use commas to show a pause or to transition to another part of a sentence. Then the comma was used to compliment the previous statement in a sentence. So, the right to bear arms will not be infringed if you belong to a well regulated militia that is necessary to the security of a free state.
If your interpretation is indeed correct then Congress needs to rewrite that amendment and remove any ambiguity about this country's core belief that each and every one of it's law abiding citizens has the right to possess and bear arms.
Please provide evidence for your militias "...were sanctioned and regulated by states and counties."
I don't know about "evidence", but here in Georgia, originally the state was divided into Militia Districts, and there was a head of the militia in that district. I know this continued until the Civil War.
Knowing Militia Districts in GA is needed to do some genealogical work. That is how I know.
I'm ok with people owning guns for specific reasons. Hunting, target shooting, it's a family heirloom and so on. I'm 100% in support of strong regulations on just who can own guns and where guns are allowed. I hate that in certain parts of the US people just walk around with them all the time. It's like they are looking for a reason to use it so they can feel all big and powerful and justify their wearing of the gun all the damn time.
As for the argument about needing guns to protect ourselves from our government if need be. I think that's a lame excuse for wanting a gun. If the government decides to come after us we're kinda fucked whether we have guns or not. The military/government is always going to have the bigger guns in a military/government vs citizen scenario. Also any event catastrophic enough to break up the USA is going to break up the military too. So more likely we'd have a military vs military conflict with citizens being fucked in between.
Becca I live in a rural area where it's normal for people to have weapons on their belts just like cell phones. Honestly I'm much less worried about the people who make others aware that they are carrying as those people aren't the ones robbing or shooting people in the vast majority of cases. It's the people who hide their weapons that are the ones that worry me. Most police will tell you the open carry people hardly bother them. Now do I think it can be silly sometimes depending on the setting yes I do. While I don't think we will be having any uprisings anytime soon against some facist government that forms and you bring up some vaild arguments about the government always having bigger guns but people can point to many cases where one force has every advantage weapon wise but are still unable to cope with non-traditional warfare. Looking at the revolutionary war you have a government vs citizen scenario where the worlds most powerful military with the most advanced weapons in the world was unable to put down an uprising by regular citizens. It's a much harder and unpopular choice to make if you face armed citizens where you would be forced to used heavy handed tactics to deal with them. Basically yes hunting rifles aren't going to destory tanks but you shouldn't under estimate the private gun ownerships effects on public policy.
Becca, I agree that the military/government will always have the bigger guns.
Organized militaries tend to lose when they're fighting guerillas, as America lost in Viet Nam.
Well, bears are my favorite animals, especially Grizzly bears. So, I am all for me having the arms of a Grizzly bear replacing my own or at least the left arm. :)
I have to laugh at those comments that take the line that the populace need to be armed in order to oppose armed oppression by the state. Oppression of the people starts long before the armed force stage comes in, please go and look at history. Oppression is carried out via the government taking control of communication (media) either directly or indirectly (suppression of stories under laws of the state - the Patriot Act for instance) and the state monitoring of communication as is happening under the ever expanding NSA, DHS and FBI. The control of information to the public (SOPA etc) It is done via control of the control of food production and the movement of food, I suggest you take a look at the new Food Safety law in the US, some rather interesting clauses there. It is done by the control of personal wealth and the flow of money, here I would suggest your governments wide ranging powers to sieze any asset they even think maybe due to illegal activity would fall under this particular control, but watch out for new controls on the movement of money out of the USA in the coming year. Of course they already monitor all money movement to muslim countries from the USA.
If you think owning a gun is going to stop you being oppressed you are wrong, the oppression has already been in progress for over a decade and its drip, drip, drip implementation will continue so that by the time most realise it has already happened having the right to bare arms will be a mute point.
Judith vd R
Oppression does exist in almost every society on this planet and we have our fair share. When the shit hits the fan in a very bad way I do want to retain my collection of firearms. They could be instrumental in one's survival in a world turned upside down. Rocks, slingshots, and spears won't past the effectiveness mustard.
Judith, you recognize a few realities that many people don't but the oppression began earlier than you say.
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and others at the 1787 Federal Convention provided for oppression by America's wealthy. You can read their words in Max Farrand's Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. His three volumes can be found in many large public libraries and the last time I did a search Amazon had them in paperback.
I agree that owning personal firearms will do little to prevent a heavily armed government from becoming a dictatorship and suppressing freedoms.
We here in the US are already under a multitude of laws and regulations defining what we can or can't do. While many of these regulations are necessary, there are those which are not. In my opinion the Patriot Act (what a name) is a law designed to take away any rights the government deems necessary. Congress passed it in the hysteria which swept the country following 9/11. It is a law of unintended (maybe not) consequences. It makes habeas corpus a joke..