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The Tremendous Simplicity of the Second Amendment

It is really amazing that so many people try to complicate the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The amendment is really tremendously simple.

The second amendment reads:

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.

Let’s break this down. 

Well regulated

What is the meaning of “well regulated”? This has nothing to do with laws and regulations. At the time the amendment was written, ‘well regulated’ simply meant, “in proper working order”. If your car is properly maintained and runs correctly, it is well regulated.

Militia

There is probably no word in this amendment that is so misunderstood as Militia. The meaning of the word has changed over the years and now often refers to an organized militia or army. At the time the amendment was written, though, it had a much simpler and easier to understand meaning. The militia was the people or citizens. Several of the framers of the amendment made this plain in other writings and that includes Thomas Jefferson. 

This is easy to understand, too, from a different aspect. During the war of independence, most of the Americans who fought weren’t part of the military in any way. They were just citizens who picked up their guns to fight for freedom from oppression and over taxation.

In fact, during WWII, the primary reason Japan didn’t try to invade the US was that the citizenry was armed. As the Emperor of Japan put it, ‘There is a gun behind every blade of grass.’ We had a well regulated Militia…the people.

being necessary to the security of a free State

As already mentioned, we only gained our freedom because the people were armed. If it wasn’t for that well regulated Militia, we wouldn’t have secured our freedom. We were up against a more powerful, better equipped, better trained, and superior force. The armed people made all the difference and it was totally necessary to secure our free state.

 the right of the people to keep and bear Arms

This is getting to the “meat” of the amendment. What comes before this part is inconsequential and the amendment would mean the same if that preamble was removed. 

The right of the people to keep and bear arms clearly refers to something that existed before the Constitution was written. It also contains no qualifiers. All people, everywhere, have the same right because it existed before any government was ever created. 

“Arms” is a reference to firearms, but it goes much further. It could also include knives, baseball bats, rocks, pitchforks, or anything else that is used to protect yourself, your family, or your belongings. The right isn’t given by the government because it preexisted before the government was formed.

shall not be infringed

Shall not be infringed by whom? This is the entire point of the Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t give any of us rights. If it did, those rights would then be coming from the government. As previously mentioned, those rights were in place before the government was created, so they didn’t come from the government.

The point of the Constitution is to limit the power of the government and say what it cannot do, legally. The government is prohibited from infringing on the right of the people to keep and bear arms; a right we had before a bunch of brilliant men sat down and wrote all of this out.

This amendment is simple to understand. Many people have refused to consider the meaning of the simple words, though. In fact, many haven’t even read the US Constitution and don’t want to try to grasp the intentions of it.

  • Was the second amendment previously confusing to you?

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    • I understood it before but understand it better now

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Written by Rex Trulove

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