What Part Of “Well Regulated” Don’t We Understand?

The 2nd Amendment is one sentence long.  One measly sentence.  Yet it causes so much conflict between people who want guns and people who don’t want people to have guns.  Let’s review:

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.

Everyone seems to focus on the second part of the sentence while conveniently ignoring the first.  These are not two distinct ideas, but one entwined within the other.  Yes, the right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.  Yes, there is no limitation as to what defines an “arm”.  But all this is only relevant in the context of a well regulated militia.

If you want to keep and bear arms, you must belong to a well regulated militia in your state.  That militia can say who gets to keep and bear arms.  That militia can say what kind of arms you are allowed to keep and bear.    That militia is set up by the state.  The state can decide who keeps and bears arms.  The only limit that I can see is that the state must allow some class of citizen to keep and bear arms.  We normally call that class of citizens police officers.

Disagree with me?  Ok, do you think people who have already killed should be able to own a gun?  By your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, shouldn’t they be able to?  What about that schizophrenic?  Should he be able to own a gun?  Given the 2nd Amendment, why not?

Now, I’m not saying that only police officers should be able to carry guns.  Far from it.  What I am saying, though, is that it is the state’s right to decide for themselves who gets to own a gun.  If a state decides that only police should own a gun, fine.  If a state decides that individuals should be able to own tanks, fine.  If a state decides that individuals should be able to own tactical nuclear weapons, fine.

I believe that individuals should be able to own whatever the heck kind of arm they want.  But they should be well regulated.  Psychological tests should be mandatory.  Regular, state approved, safety classes should be mandatory.  Regular, state approved, proficiency exams should be mandatory.  Permits should be issued for each arm only after a safety and proficiency exam is passed.  Insurance to cover potential damages should be mandatory.

We’ve lost our way on the 2nd Amendment.  Regulation of arms is necessary and proper for the functioning of a free state.  That regulation should be decided by the state, though, and not the federal government.

7 thoughts on “What Part Of “Well Regulated” Don’t We Understand?

  1. Eric S

    So, are you saying if the State deems you eligible to own a weapon and you choose to exercise that right, the State can then “call you up” to serve in a militia?

    1. Jean-Paul Post author

      I am not, but it’s certainly something to consider. Own a gun, help clean up during a tornado. We’re talking National Guard now. It does make sense.

      1. Eric S

        I was just trying to tease out what you are saying and I also like the idea. The way I understood your interpretation is the Constitution only allows members of a regulated militia to own guns and defines what kind of guns, from pea shooters to ICBMs, the militia members are allowed to own.

        So running with that, if you own a gun you are now part of the State regulated militia. A tornado takes out half of Lincoln County, IL (not a real place). The State calls up the militia to clean up the county. If you don’t show up, are you now subject to court martial for being AWOL?

        I think I like this idea more and more.

        1. Jean-Paul Post author

          I really like the idea too. I think the states should be able to decide what form it would take, though. This is simply the most obvious. It’s definitely worth a new blog post.

  2. jeremiah

    The second ammendment along with 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10 are all “individual rights” a.k.a the bill of rights. Also it is right after freedom of speech. Based on that id say it is for every citzen. If a well regulated malitia was made to turn against citizens arms would most definitely be necessart to defend one’s individual rights. Just sayin…..

    1. Jean-Paul Post author

      It’s like a matryoshka doll fantasy. There is always someone aiming to take your individual rights away. The feds are going to try to take it from the states. The states are going to try to take it from the counties. The counties are going to take it away from the cities. You keep going down and down until it’s just you and your guns versus the world. Any governmental fighting body would make mincemeat out of any citizen that decided to oppose it no matter how large the number. If you think otherwise, you’re just another grown man playing dungeons and dragons.

  3. Jaime

    After the Conneticutt tragedy, I made a post regarding the Second Amendment and the whole Well Regulated Militia concept. Though my initial opinion differed a little, I am on board with the “Gun Owner = National Guard member” concept. One Weekend a month, and Two weeks a year training is your ticket to Second amendment bliss.

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