The Second Amendment Explained

Amendment II

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.

In the days when this amendment was written, the militia meant every adult able to bear arms. The militia was not the regular army. The term “regulated” was not a legal term at that time, but a mechanical one. A regulator was any mechanical device used to make something work better. A spin-ball governor was used to “regulate” the speed of a steam engine, as one example. A “Well Regulated” militia meant a militia with all the proper equipment needed to do their job better. That meant good weapons with good sights. After all, what use is a militia if they cannot hit what they are aiming at?

The Second Amendment is not about target shooting or hunting. At the time, hunting was indispensable for survival in the new nation, especially when food crops were unavailable. To deprive the people of their hunting weapons was to condemn them to death by starvation in the winter months. Military commanders of the time viewed hunting weapons as off limits. When Lieutenant Colonel George Monro surrendered Fort William Henry to Major General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm during the French and Indian Wars, the civilian militia serving the British were allowed to take their weapons with them when they left. When the British marched on Concord, triggering the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the start of the American Revolution, it was to seize military arms, not hunting weapons.

By the very inclusion of the terms “militia”, “security”, and “free state” it is clear that the Second Amendment is referring to military arms. The Founding Fathers understood that it was only because the people had been in possession of military arms that they were able to resist the economic enslavement of King George’s Currency Act, created under pressure from the then-private central Bank of England. Absent those arms in the hands of the people, the banker-imposed poverty would have continued indefinitely.

“The refusal of King George 3rd to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the revolution.” — Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father

The Founding Fathers, while acknowledging the need for some form of government, knew all too well from thousands of years of human history that government is not automatically the friend of the governed, and had to be kept under tight control.

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” — George Washington, in a speech of January 7, 1790

Following the Revolution, the Founding Fathers created a nation with power and authority reserved to the people. In order to avoid despotic rule, the government was broken into three separate parts, so that the natural tendency for government to seek more power would be turned against itself and not the people. Strict limits were imposed on the government itself, to keep the government the servant of the people.

The Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment because they understood that any system of government is only as good as the people who are in that government. They understood that political power attracts the very sort of people who should never be allowed to have it. And they understood that no matter how limited government was at its creation, over time all governments tend towards oligarchy, cease to be the servant of the people, and seek to become the masters.

“While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny.” – Rev. Nicholas Collin, Fayetteville Gazette (N.C.), October 12, 1789

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” (Thomas Jefferson Papers p. 334, 1950)

In short, the Second Amendment is not about hunting or target shooting. It is and was ever intended to be about protecting We The People from the government of the United States.

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2 Responses

  1. OOPS! So sorry, I meant we in Milwaukee are praying for you guys! Have a great week! -Dave

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  2. Amen! Thank you for everything you do. This article was wonderful and accurate. We in Wisconsin have been praying for you guys. Hang in there. -Dave

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