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Dad, what is a "Well-Regulated Militia"?

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:06 PM
Original message
Dad, what is a "Well-Regulated Militia"?
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. Well, it is different than the people, which is why both are mentioned in the amendment
;)
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Abq_Sarah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. So the second amendment
Was written in part, to protect the rights of government to regulate firearms?


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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Exactly. The other enumerated rights in the Bill don't use prefatory clauses.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. And you interpret that to mean...
Whatever you want?

--imm
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Just using my reading comprehension skills honestly, unlike Scalia et al.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
15. So the BOR does not detail individual rights?
there is a lot of Constitutional history that would disagree with you on that one.
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Sure it does. But the 2nd was just appeasement of skeptics of a federal government.
Now utterly obsolete. Like the three-fifths compromise.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. But it has to be respected until it is amended or removed.
Correct? Or are you saying the state can ignore any provision of the BOR that is "utterly obsolete"?
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. It just needs to be properly interpreted and adjudicated in the context of our modern society.
SCOTUS is fucking up.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. I think they are doing a fine job of interpreting it. nt
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. Presumably because you think access to guns and ammo is somehow GOOD for the country?
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Doesn't seem be hurting it
considering how violent crime is at historic lows and still declining. I can't see how me giving up my guns will making a difference when it is obvious that me owing guns certainly didn't hurt the country.
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #28
33. Not hurting the country? Your access to guns is Jared Lochner's access to guns.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. So? I haven't killed anyone and don't plan to
why do you want to curtail my civil rights if I haven't done anything wrong?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #33
39. Your internet access is a child molesters internet access. n/t
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #39
42. Internet access has overwhelming beneficial characterstics. Guns and ammo do not.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. Of course they do. Law enforcement uses firearms.
Lawful defensive use of firearms far exceeds illegal usage.
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. They're almost always using firearms in response to firearms drawn on them.
Guns in the hands of the public require guns in the hands of the cops.

Everything else can be tasered.
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Abq_Sarah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #19
35. Properly interpreted meaning
Blue is red, up is down, full is empty and words mean whatever I want them to mean?

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petronius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #5
46. Perhaps that's because the Founders thought this particular right was so important
that they saw fit to add a little justification for it. Just in case some nimrod came along and tried to question it... :shrug:
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I agree with you. Unfortunately, the SCOTUS conservative majority doesn't.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
26. Properly equipped Chefs, being necessary for the preparation of good Pizza,
Edited on Thu Jan-27-11 03:05 PM by slackmaster
...the right of the people to grow and harvest tomatoes, shall not be infringed.

Are chefs not people?
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
4. A totally irrelevant bit of verbiage
Nobody knows what it means, so we just disregard that. See Son, our society has decided that cheap and easy access to guns is far more important than just about anything else. So thousands of people die needlessly each year; it's a necessary human sacrifice demanded by the High Church of Redemptive Violence. You'll understand when you get older.
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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Not at the time it was written
I lived in Lexington, MA for five years, where the meaning of "well regulated militia" is well known to even young schoolchildren, as well as in neighboring Concord. Remember the Minutemen? Or is it asking too much for you to recall history. It was here that the British tried to find the storehouses in which the well-organized groups of militia kept their arms. Never again did the founders want a power to assume authority to prevent a WELL ORGANIZED group defending the sovereignty of the colonies to have their right and means to do so abridged.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
40. Nobody said that except you.
The "A well regulated militia being necessary for a free state" is the purpose, the reason, the rational.

"the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". Who has the right? Oh yeah the PEOPLE have the right to keep and bear arms.


In modern English:
The RIGHT of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms is protected BECAUSE an effective militia (which requires people armed and trained) is necessary fro a free state.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
6. The answer to these questions are in Hamilton's Federalist #29
Well regulated means competent or practiced. The militia is anyone who can defend the country, though it meant men in those days.

--imm
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Defend the country from outside, not from within?
I think this is where the line is being blurred. There are those who think that taking up arms against their own government is within the definition of the second amendment.

And thank you for posting that. I always appreciate people who share their knowledge.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. Rachel Maddow talked about that a few days ago.
She made a point that she didn't think the founders included the Second Amendment so their government could be overthrown. Makes sense to me.

--imm
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #11
29. The country was founded on the concept of taking up arms to overthrow their own government.
The British troops attempted to prevent militias from mobilizing by seizing arms (more specifically they often tried to sieze/destroy gunpowder. In many instances they were successful at suppressing militia by seizing arms.

The start of the Revolutionary "shot heard round the world" occurred when British troops tried to seize arms and supplies stored by the militia of Lexington.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_Lexington_and_Concord

So it was obvious to the founders that
a) Even governments formed under the best intentions can become tyrannical
b) armed rebellion is sometimes necessary
c) an effective method to prevent that rebellion is to seize arms from the People.

I mean they lived through that progression of events. Everything in the Bill of Rights was a direct result of British injustices. The British seized arms, imprisoned rebels without trial, put troops in peoples homes, searched homes without warrants, seize control of the press, made public demonstrations illegal, ignored petitions from the colonists. Any of those things sound familiar?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_of_Rights

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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. How could I forget? We all knew this.


So that makes it very difficult when people do not have the appropriate knowledge and context to know when to and when not to take up arms. People who thought Bush was just dandy, and then they march around at Obama rallies with assault rifles. Maybe it has always been that way. But the key is knowing when the real threat of dictatorship is at hand.

Thanks again. This is why I love this forum. In order to learn, we have to ask the dumb questions. I have no shame. :)
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #34
38. Well I think part of the problem is our school system "waters down"
Edited on Thu Jan-27-11 04:26 PM by Statistical
the Revolution, the founders, and the Bill of Rights. They are rather "radical" for their time.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,<72> that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


----------------------

If you will indulge my philosophizing.

These are some radical concept especially for circa 1700s. The concept that people have rights that pre-exist government and that government are merely an institution of/by Men to protect those Right. Governments have no other reason, no other purpose. The founders would say if we could protect rights without governments we never would even have one. However governments are necessary to protect rights, but that is the SOLE REASON for their existence. Pretty radical stuff. If the sole purpose of governments is to protect the rights of the people then obviously (or at least obviously for the founders) when the government doesn't protect rights and instead tramples upon them the people have the right to destroy the government and build a new one.

The founders didn't consider themselves omnipotent or perfect. They knew many governments (formed by other people with the best of intentions) had come before only to become corrupt and tyrannical. They never believed or intended that this government was "magical" or it would last forever. They put their best effort forward. Debated on the right level of power/authority, built checks and balances, encoded protections in the Bill of Rights and essentially gave the new govt the best chance of success. The best chance to not become a victim of corruption and tyranny.

They never held the concept of the US government as sacred; They held the rights of the people to be sacred. If/when the US government fails in that mission the founders would have had no problem tearing it down and trying again and again and again. Hopefully which each attempt getting closer to a perfect government.

Now IMHO the Founders would likely Chastise the tea party. The threat of revolution isn't something to be used for small issues. No they clearly say "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes". However the founders would even go as far (remember pretty radical guys) to say IF/WHEN the government becomes despotic it isn't just the right of the People BUT THEIR DUTY to overthrow that government.

I mean pretty radical stuff if you actually read it. Of course it is also scary and possibly upsetting thus schools are more likely to gloss over those radical concepts.
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #38
45. It's valuable to revisit this part of the founding father's thoughts.
What strikes me is that "mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

This seems like a brilliant observation. And one that is key in understanding just when the time IS right for changing governance. I go back to the Bush years, and think that was one such time. Or was it? If not, then when? And that seems to be the question we are addressing when we talk about the second amendment, and gun control, and revolution. It also explains why dividing the country is such an important thing, in terms of avoiding any kind of change, or revolution. Such thought is kept from public view because people want to discourage change. I don't like the idea of rabid right wingers who think Obama is Satan, and therefore it's time to pull out their guns. If we could all be on the same playing field, and communicate, and agree on the truth, then maybe we would all know when that time to revolt is. I think we've changed in a way that is slow enough that no one really has a sense of how bad things are. And yet things are not that bad. Certainly not bad enough that our suffering is unbearable.

A million dead Iraqi's is the thing that has impressed upon me the most that what happened in the last 8 years was beyond suffering. That should have set off the alarms among the Americans.

I don't know. I think we're in very troubled times. With global warming looming in the back yard, I think things like this discussion may be seen as quaint very soon.

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Major Hogwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. Using muskets.
Where in the Constitution does it say Congress will provide for a standing Army?
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
9. A bunch of yahoos harassing a sitting President and his supporters?


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Lint Head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
12. The misunderstanding of this phrase is a pet peeve of mine.
If you read the writings of the founding fathers unlike Michelle Bachman, you would have a better understanding of the 2nd Admendment
The Federalist Papers are just one good source. There was a debate that this new country should not have a standing army and the 2nd Amendment was added to make sure all men were armed in case the newly founded country was attacked. Thus a militia. The 2nd Amendment was not intended to address the shooting of a burglar or an attacker of your private person. Guns for hunting and protection were common then and the founding fathers saw no need to address that. That right is implied in the right to be safe in your personhood. It seems this amendment has been so distorted that the right to free speech and the other rights have been ignored or destroyed.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. Yet we look at state constitutions from the same period
And we see an explicit right to self defense.


Connecticut: Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.

Kentucky: 1792: "That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." Art. XII, 23.

Pennsylvania: The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. Art. 1, 21 (enacted 1790, art. IX, 21).

Rhode Island: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Art. I, 22 (enacted 1842).

Vermont: That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State -- and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power. Ch. I, art. 16 (enacted 1777, ch. I, art. 15).



There are many other subsequent state constitutions that do not link gun ownership to a militia.

http://www2.law.ucla.edu/volokh/beararms/statecon.htm
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. "Defend the state" means militia to me.
Whoever defends the state is the militia, if they are just citizens.

--imm
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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Did you not see 'themselves and..' in those constitutions?? n/t
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #23
31. Yeah, but this thread is about militia.
It's a little less than academic I think, to infer that a person, who has the right to possess a gun, does not have the right to defend himself with it.

--imm
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #31
37. But it means that there is more than one reason to own gun.
that is also a little less than academic.
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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #31
41. The cartoon in the OP is an insinuation that the second amendment protects only a militia..
It doesn't now, it didn't then. That's all I was saying.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. What does "in defense of themselves" mean?
you don't have to guess - there is plenty of established case law.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #24
32. See #31 above.
--imm
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #12
30. The militia didn't have guns. The PEOPLE had guns.
While you are right the purpose of the 2A is the formation of militias the RIGHT belongs with the People.

The British attempted to prevent the militias from forming via SEIZING ARMS DIRECTLY FROM THE PEOPLE.

The start of the Revolutionary War as a direct confrontation between British troops with orders to seize gunpowder and a "mob" of the citizens of Lexington.

Everything in the Bill of Rights was a direct result of the actions of the British troops. Among other things English common law guaranteed the right of freeman to have arms. The British troops knowing the easiest militia to defeat is the one that never forms seized arms from individual citizens. They also imprisoned people without trial, searched homes without warrant, put troops in homes without compensation, banned public demonstrations, etc. Do any of those protected events sound familiar?

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kctim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
13. Aw, city kids
Don't worry young-in, I'm sure you will be taught to live in fear soon enough.
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Terry in Austin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
22. The "Embarrassing Second Amendment" -- ditch it!
Here is an opinion piece from the Brookings Institution that builds on University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson's famous 1989 article in the Yale Law Journal, "The Embarrassing Second Amendment."

From the Brookings Institution article:

One can still muster strong arguments in favor of a collective-rights conception of the Second Amendment, the view that has prevailed in most other circuits; and the individual-rights view does not necessarily doom all gun control... But the simple truth is that the individual-rights view is in intellectual ascendancy, and not just among gun-loving wing nuts.

It's time for gun-control supporters to come to grips with the fact that the amendment actually means something in contemporary society. For which reason, I hereby advance a modest proposal: Let's repeal the damned thing. ...If we disagree with the Founders ...we should say so and invoke that provision of the Constitution they specifically designed so that we could give voice to our disagreements with them.

There are lots of good reasons why our values today might not coincide with those of the Founders on the question of guns. ...the Second Amendment's protection for militias reflected the importance the Founders attached to an armed citizenry as a protection against tyrannical government. This made sense at the time. ...After more than two centuries of constitutional government, however, it's safe to assume that neither an armed citizenry nor a well-regulated militia really is "necessary to the security of a free State." The opposite seems closer to the truth; just ask the Bosnians or the Iraqis. ...To put the matter simply, the Founders were wrong about the importance of guns to a free society.


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