he Right To Keep And Arm Bears
Rachel Maddow recently attended an NRA convention in Pittsburgh as an invited guest of Meghan McCain, daughter of John, member of the NRA and self-described "Second Amendment enthusiast."
Although Maddow displayed her ability to elicit some, limited, useful information during a congenial and friendly conversation (transcript here), the segment (video, below) also demonstrated that at least someone at the convention understands gun control a lot better than she does.
Twice (at 7:12 and 8:29) the camera zeroed in on an inscription, below the NRA eagle, reading "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." No doubt responsible for arranging the engraving was a gun rights supporter well versed in English grammar- in the English language. The Second Amendment was worded by individuals from England with a healthier regard for the language than is common today. Fearing tyranny, they wrote
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.
Cleverly, and with a decent respect for grammar, the author had inscribed on what appears to be a monument the words:
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
That, obviously, is not the Second Amendment, which includes "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right....."
The question begs answering: is it a mere effort to save space, hence, money, or did someone realize that there is no right to keep and bear arms when "a well regulated militia" is not "necessary to the security of a free State?" If the latter, he/she is aware that "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" is a sine qua non for "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." There is no militia in the United States and no need for a group of citizens to band together to protect the populace against a tyrannical government.
For those who revere the English language, there is no "right to keep and bear arms" in modern America, notwithstanding Rachel Maddow's assurance to Meghan McCain "My issue is not that people have a right to keep and bear arms." (Maddow may have conceded that only to keep the exchange moving; all her other arguments were sound.) Whether a gun control proposal is wise or efficacious is, and should be, open to debate. The "right to keep and bear arms" is assumed and has not been open to debate, but should be.
There is no constitutional right to keep and/or bear arms. Perhaps there should be, but there is not. And in the words of Charles Barkley,
I may be wrong.
But I doubt it.
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