JT Coyote: Gun crazy, or gun savvy
For a week, I’ve been info digging and fact foraging to no avail, for my column concerning the Tucson Arizona shootings. Acquiring any factual information last week was futile. The agenda-filled rhetoric and innuendo blasting on all sides in the print and broadcast media, was insane. It was a week-long blame-fest. Outlets seemed more interested in making political hay at the expense of fellow pundits than fact finding and information sharing regarding the tragedy.
While trying to sort this all out, I received an e-mailed link to an editorial titled “Gun Crazy” by Summit Daily News Editor, Alex Miller. Being stymied in my fact gathering, and since Alex and I occasionally converse concerning firearms, I switched gears and snatched this opportunity to answer his points with historical and constitutional counterpoints.
Alex begins by citing the Second Amendment, the over punctuated “post Civil War” Second Amendment that is. The early Congressional record indicates only one comma in the Second Amendment, after the word “state.” This comma separates the 27 words into two dependent clauses, each modifying and explaining the other. The post Civil War Second Amendment has two additional confusion-creating commas added. One after the word “Militia,” another after the word “Arms.” The “original” Second Amendment with its one comma, as below, can be seen at the US Government Printing Office website.
“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.”
Keep in mind, that to change even a comma in the Constitution would require a constitutional amendment. I don’t recall such amendment, do you? Anyway, this and other unconstitutional changes took place in the mayhem at the end of the Civil War surrounding Lincoln’s assassination.
A key word in the Second Amendment is the word “regulated.” Folks assume it means controlled, like under “federal control.” Though with that meaning it has only a few foundation document references, all suggesting very limited government control. Another meaning is that the militia be “regulated” for proficiency – that it be well schooled and well drilled for strategic and tactical advantage. There are references dealing with this meaning too, yet the Founders warn us repeatedly against the Militia becoming a standing army under unlimited civil, federal or state control.
Now, the most documented and debated meaning of the word “regulated.” Alex leads us here with his personal story involving a muzzle-loading rifle that would have been “state-of-the-art” when the Constitution was ratified. Then as today, “regulated” refers to a balance of power on a field of battle. This was discussed at length during national debate which gave rise to the Bill of Rights, and is chronicled in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. Both camps discussed ideas for regulating the Peoples Power. They finally agreed if an enemy or potential enemy soldier had “one,” then the People, the Militia, may have “one” as well. To restrict this right would put the enemy at an unfair advantage. (The restrictive 1911 Sullivan Handgun Act, made NYC such a battlefield, for the last 100 years.)
Our founders were loyal. Their government began extending empire on their backs. When government legislated away their guns they understood what that meant – The beginning of tyranny. Look around you today. The entire population should not have to pay for the murderous actions of one man.
“The right of civilians in a free society to possess ‘military-looking,’ or even actual military weapons, is essential if a monopoly of force is not to reside in the hands of government, where modern history shows the potential for far greater abuses and crimes exists than are possible for any deranged individual.”
~U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939)
Summit County resident JT Coyote is an antique firearms restoration expert, and also writes for the free speech blog infowars.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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