[Clips] Fans of a disarmed peasantry

R. A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Sun Dec 11 12:36:57 PST 2005

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 Dec. 11, 2005
 Las Vegas Review-Journal

 VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: Fans of a disarmed peasantry

 My column of last week, dealing with uniformed cops shooting undercover
 cops, and the bizarre proposal that to solve this problem undercover cops
 must stop carrying guns so their uniformed brethren can continue to feel
 free to shoot any black man in "civvies" who's seen to have a gun, drew a
 scattering of the usual recycled nonsense from the eager boot lickers of
 the state.

 We've seen the lawyerly double-talk before: The Second and 14th Amendments
 don't really guarantee any pre-existing, God-given individual right to keep
 and bear arms; they were only intended (in 1789) to guarantee the right of
 the states to have their National Guards (established in 1917), blah blah

 No room here to recite my thorough evisceration of this nonsense from pages
 321-349 of "The Ballad of Carl Drega." Space also prohibits me from
 reprinting here all the relevant chapters of professor Akhil Reed Amar's
 1998 book "The Bill of Rights," demonstrating that this long-discredited
 nonsense will no longer fly even at the reliably leftist Yale Law School.

 Instead, herewith the necessarily abbreviated, "Cliff Notes" version:

 Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, primary author of the Second Amendment as
 well as the rest of the Bill of Rights, rose in 1788 to advise us that, "A
 militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves. ... To
 preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always
 possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."

 In his aforementioned book "The Bill of Rights: Creation and
 Reconstruction," professor Amar notes, "Several modern scholars have read
 the (Second) amendment as protecting only arms bearing in organized 'state
 militias,' like SWAT teams and National Guard units. ...

 "This reading doesn't quite work. The states'-rights reading puts great
 weight on the word militia, but the word appears only in the amendment's
 subordinate clause. The ultimate right to keep and bear arms belongs to
 'the people,' not the states. ...

 "In 1789, when used without any qualifying adjective, 'the militia'
 referred to all citizens capable of bearing arms," professor Amar
 continues. "The seeming tension between the dependent and main clauses of
 the Second Amendment thus evaporates on closer inspection -- the 'militia'
 is identical to 'the people' in the core sense described above. Indeed, the
 version of the amendment initially passed by the House, only to be
 stylistically shortened in the Senate, explicitly defined the militia as
 'composed of the body of the People."

 Let us now turn to the Oct. 16, 2001, decision of the 5th U.S. Circuit
 Court of Appeals, sitting in New Orleans, in the case United States v.

 "We have found no historical evidence that the Second Amendment was
 intended to convey militia power to the states ... or applies only to
 members of a select militia while on active duty," the appeals court ruled.
 "All of the evidence indicates that the Second Amendment, like other parts
 of the Bill of Rights, applies to and protects individual Americans.

 "We find that the history of the Second Amendment reinforces the plain
 meaning of the text, namely that it protects individual Americans in their
 right to keep and bear arms whether or not they are members of a select
 militia or performing military service or training."

 In the Emerson decision, the 5th Circuit specifically rejected any reading
 of the Second Amendment's preamble -- "A well-regulated militia, being
 necessary to the security of a free state" -- as meaning anything other
 than a simple directive that the entire body of the people, capable of
 bearing arms, must continue to be allowed to bear arms of current military
 usefulness, "such as the pistol involved here," without requiring any
 additional government permission, paperwork, license, or authorization.

 The court even cited as its authority no less a personage in the history of
 the Constitution than James Madison, who wrote in Federalist No. 46 that
 the proposed power of the Congress "to raise and support armies" posed no
 threat to liberty, since any such army, if misused, "would be opposed (by)
 a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their
 hands," and then noting? "the advantage of being armed, which the Americans
 possess over the people of almost every other nation," in contrast to "the
 several kingdoms of Europe," where "the governments are afraid to trust the
 people with arms."

 And I don't think he meant BB guns.

 These boot lickers of the oppressor, stained yellow from rolling over on
 their backs and peeing themselves in terror that this might again become a
 nation of proud, armed, independent and freedom-loving men, had better get
 themselves some new lies.

 The one that starts, "You forgot the introductory clause about the militia,
 nyah nyah nyah," is starting to wear a little thin.

 Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal
 and author of "The Ballad of Carl Drega" and the new novel "The Black
 Arrow." His Web sites are www.TheLibertarian.us or www.LibertyBookShop.us.

 R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
 The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
 "... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
 [predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
 experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
 Clips mailing list
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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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