You should read The Federalist Papers and, in particular, #46 by Madison. It lets you know who the militia is, and its purpose.
What I'm trying to clarify is the concept that anti gun rights people use to argue that "militia" means some type of "group" of people. They then conclude that the second ammendment does not pertain to an "individual's" right to bear arms.
posted on 07/30/2002 2:28:14 PM PDT
You might find the following summary statements useful.
The Constitution's Bill of Rights recognizes "unalienable [inalienable] Rights" with which "We the People" are endowed by their Creator as stated in the Declaration of Independence. The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution acknowledges that neither the Constitution nor a government founded upon the Constitution can grant an inalienable right nor take away an inalienable right.
The US Constitution was ratified by the original thirteen states beginning with Rhode Island, 7 Dec 1787 and ending with Maryland, Mar 1789. Each state government was the representative of a sovereign people at the time it signed the Constitution and the people did not give up any of their inalienable rights upon signing. The meaning of the Second Amendment can therefore be determined by examining the state constitutions that were contemporaneous with the ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to determine what the sovereign people of a state meant by the right to keep and bear arms.
Of the original thirteen states, Pennsylvania's Constitution written in 1776 said, "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state." Connecticut's Constitution written in 1818 said, "Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state."
Moreover, other groups of sovereign people who later became states included in their constitutions similar statements clearly showing that in their minds, the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right to be used to defend themselves and the state as shown in the following quotes.
Alabama: " That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state." (1819)
Kentucky: " That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." (1792)
Michigan: "Every person has a right to bear arms for the defence of himself and the State." (1835)
Mississippi: "Every citizen has a right to bear arms, in defence of himself and the State." (1817)
Missouri: "That the people have . . . their right to bear arms in defence of themselves and of the State cannot be questioned." (1820)
Ohio: "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State." (1802)
Vermont: "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State." (1777)
Recently, two of the original thirteen states asserted their understanding of the right to keep and bear arms by amending their state constitutions. Delaware's constitution says, "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use", (enacted 1987). New Hampshire's constitution says "All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state" (enacted 1982).
It is indisputable that the citizens of some states clearly meant that the inalienable right to keep and bear arms was an individual right. If the citizens of one or more states viewed the right to keep and bear arms as a collective right, then a major misunderstanding existed between the states when they freely joined the United States
posted on 07/30/2002 2:48:14 PM PDT
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