Bearing (Up Under) Arms!
What is the REAL purpose and meaning of the US Constitution's 2nd Amendment?
Probably not what you believe it to be, and certainly not what groups like the NRA and GoA claim it to be.
The following essays, articles, and links present a detailed alternative to the so-called "Standard Model" put forth by NRA hoplophiles, and show the REAL history, language, grammar, and judicial rulings regarding the 2nd Amendment.
- Purpose -- What were the anti-Federalists asking for? Why is this a MILITIA Amendment and nothing more? What did James Madison REALLY hope to accomplish?
- Terms -- What did each word or phrase in the 2nd Amendment REALLY mean to the educated, elite 18th century lawyers who wrote and passed it?
- Grammar -- Why you can't ignore the first half of the Amendment: there are NO subordinate "clauses" in Constitutional interpretation; there is no "surplusage." (Although the history and language is sufficient to make the meaning of the sentence crystal clear, the punctuation and arrangement of clauses reinforces the strictly militia interpretation.)
- Courts -- Over 200 years of court rulings are near-unanimous in their interpretation: the 2nd Amendment is a militia amendment that protects the rights of states to maintain their militias.
- Personal -- What kind of "right" is secured by the 2nd Amen? Is it an individual right, as hoplophiles claim, or a collective right, as the courts have overwhelmingly ruled? Actually, it's BOTH, though probably NOT as you might think.
- Quotes -- What did the Founders REALLY say about the 2nd Amendment, militias, guns, and rights? Puncturing the bogus, chopped-up, fallacious, and out-of-context cites hoplophiles drag out to "make" their case, and what the ACTUAL cites actually say and mean.
- Literary Analysis -- Deconstructing "The Unabridged Second Amendment" of J. Neil Schulman
A series of articles in the Ellenville Journal that summarizes the information in the above essays, in .pdf format:
- Part 1 -- Introduction, continuing comments on the US Constitution and our representative democracy, and the pending review of the 2nd Amendment by the Supreme Court.
- Part 2 -- Why the states were concerned the new Constitution would threaten their rights and powers, particularly regarding their militias.
- Part 3 -- History of the Bill of Rights and what Madison was really up to in pushing it through an indifferent Congress.
- Part 4 -- What did the term "bear arms" mean to Madison and the first Congress?
- Part 5 -- Who are "the People" who have the "right"? Why is it important?
Essays by Others
Links to other articles, essays, dissertations, and useful websites that provide support for the previous essays and articles.
- A Historian's Take -- "To Keep and Bear Arms" by
Garry Wills (The New York Review of Books, September 21, 1995)
- Second Thoughts -- "Second Thoughts: What the Right to Bear Arms Really Means" by Akhil Reed Amar (The New Republic, 1999)
- Guns and the Judiciary -- Interview with Dennis Henigan
- Originalism -- "The Second Amendment: The Highest Stage of Originalism" by Jack N. Rakove (from the Chicago-Kent Law Review Symposium on the Second Amendment)
- The Vanishing Predicate -- "The Second Amendment in Context: The Case of the Vanishing Predicate" by H. Richard Uviller & William G. Merkel (from the Chicago-Kent Law Review Symposium on the Second Amendment)
- Gun Crazy -- "Gun Crazy: Constitutional False Consciousness And Dereliction Of Dialogic Responsibility" by Andrew D. Herz (from the Chicago-Kent Law Review Symposium on the Second Amendment)
- In Action -- "The Second Amendment In Action" by Michael A. Bellesiles (from the Chicago-Kent Law Review Symposium on the Second Amendment)
Steven Krulick / SK@Krulick.Com
Ellenville NY / 12428-130727 / Earth