The Supreme Court Guns Down Precedent
20 March, 2008
By Bryan Lower
The Second Amendment is a difficult text to decipher. The two clauses do not seem to support each other, yet they are linked with only a measly comma separating them. The 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. (1)
The first clause refers to a “well regulated militia”, stating that it is “necessary to the security of a free state”. The language seems to lay out the purpose of the right that is to be enumerated in the last part of the sentence, but it takes a wild turn. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Here it does not refer to a militia, or any specific purpose, but only of a “right of the people”. Which people? All individuals? Adults over a certain age? Non-felons? And what happened to the “well regulated” in the first clause? Does this mean that there is a fundamental right to own an anti-tank missile?
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