Day by Day

Friday, August 02, 2013

How about some plain language?

Amendment 2 --  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.
The men who wrote the Constitution and its Amendments were not lawyers quibbling over the value of a comma. They were fairly well-educated for their day (for the most part), and moderately to very successful in their own occupations. They were not politicians. They used simple language, intended for everyone to understand, since that language would have to stand up to scrutiny and arguments by those very same people who had seen both the War and the resulting screw-ups involving the Articles of Confederation.

So let's look at it from a plain language point of view, shall we?

There is something I remembered from high school English class, and it is the concept of "Dependent Clause" vs "Independent Clause". You can go read up on the peculiarities and distinctions, but it boils down to one thing, and it is a binary condition. Either the clause can stand alone as an intelligible sentence (making it an Independent Clause) or it cannot, and is intended merely as a supplemental phrase, perhaps adding additional context or explanation (making it a Dependent Clause). Simple, no?

Ignore the history of the Amendment, and how the people who endorsed the idea had just used their personal weapons to get rid of one government, so were not unaware of the need for such preparations. Ignore that Federal Law actually defines "militia" as effectively everyone between 17 and 45. Ignore all of that, and see which of the two clauses in the Amendment can stand alone. (Because THAT is the intent of the sentence, not the supplemental context.)

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State"
or
"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"?
Which of those two is what was actually meant by the Founders?
Molon labe...

I'll tell ya what, since gun grabbers are all about "compromise", let's try one. You give us back all of the kinds of scary-looking guns currently banned under Federal and State Laws, and you can marry whoever you want. Care to offer me nukes in exchange for third-trimester abortions?

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