Back in 1991, Republican appointee and former Chief Justice Warren Burger gave an explanation as to why the Second Amendment seems to affirm the act of gun regulation. In his explanation,Burger read the amendment’s first words, which are “a well-regulated militia.”
This words assumes that militias should have regulation. According to Burger’s reasoning, if the amendment’s assumption is that well-trained state armies should be under regulation, then that means Congress also needs to regulate guns among the nation’s general citizens.
Corey Brettschneider, a Professor of Political Science at Brown University, has been pondering this reasoning. He wonders what our current interpretation of the term “well-regulated” might mean in today’s society.
According to Brettschneider, at the time that the Second Amendment was written, the term “well-regulated” was in reference to “in good working order.” The term was not insinuating that “well-regulated” meant “to subject to government regulation.
And, when you think about it, why would it? In fact, the whole premise that the government would be able to regulate (in today’s sense) a militia (meaning a group of armed citizens with a specific purpose, and not a permanent army) goes against the entire aim of the Second Amendment.
According to Lectlaw.com:
A widely reprinted article by Tench Coxe, an ally and correspondent of James Madison, described the Second Amendment’s overriding goal as a check upon the national government’s standing army:
“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
As The Truth About Guns states:
It can’t be stressed enough: the Founding Fathers enacted the Second Amendment to give The People the ability to resist government tyranny by force of arms.
Not so, according to the Brown University Poli Sci prof. Mr. Brettschneider reckons the Constitution was designed to enable tyranny. Although that’s not exactly how he puts it:
The constitutional argument for gun regulation also goes beyond the Second Amendment. The Constitution’s preamble speaks of the need to “insure domestic Tranquility”—a fundamental task of any government that can be aided by regulating deadly weapons.
The recent tragedy in Florida—merely the newest in a line of one numbing bloodbath after another, a crisis that no other developed country on earth suffers from—has made it clear that our schools, hospitals, and military are anything but tranquil. In places where they once would have thought themselves safe, citizens fear another attack.
Question: what couldn’t the government regulate under the banner of “insuring domestic tranquility”? Stop me from posting this fisking? Penalize you for reading it? That and much, much more. Anything really.
Mr. Brettschneider ends his dietribe [sic] by slagging off the NRA as Constitutionally illiterate paranoid fantasists. And singing the praises of the teenage ignorami clamoring for the removal of their civil rights.
If LaPierre believes that all those supporting gun regulation are part of this deep state conspiracy, then the heavily conservative supreme court must be included as well. They’ve clearly upheld the kind of legislation being considered right now in Congress, but no one could plausibly claim that Republican appointed Justice Alito or Chief Justice Roberts is out to confiscate Americans’ firearms.
Fortunately, the NRA narrative is being challenged. The brave students of Stoneman Douglas are the fiercest opponents the NRA has seen in some time. In defending sensible gun regulation, they, not their opportunistic opponents, are the ones truly standing up for the constitution and the second amendment.
Being this wrong about our Constitutionally protected gun rights requires both major league mental gymnastics and a steadfast refusal to research the subject in question.
Parents paying $65,380 per year to educate their children at Brown University: rest assured that Professor Brettschneider is helping them master those skills. The rest of us should be relieved our children don’t go to Brown.