I wondered if there were any site that tried to do sentence diagramming on the 2nd Amendment, and I was not disappointed. There were two. The first I found did such a bang-up job of diagramming it using the sentence structure of……. modern day English. What does such an error lead us to? You guessed it…
But you know something… Rick Abath, who even believes in gun rights, has something a little more intelligent to say on the matter.
A grammatical device which isn’t used much today but was used in the days when our Constitution was written, especially in formal writing, was the nominative absolute. A nominative absolute is a noun phrase within a sentence which, while grammatically separate from, describes all the other clauses in the sentence and all the other clauses in the sentence are dependent upon the nominative phrase. For example, “The party being over, we went home.” The fact that we went home is dependent on the fact the the party ended. Another example would be, “The weather being rainy, the baseball game was canceled.” The reason the baseball game was canceled was because it rained.
The Second Amendment is not only an example of absolute construction, it’s the only amendment in the Bill of Rights that utilizes absolute construction. “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.” All of the clauses following “A well-regulated militia” are dependent upon that nominative phrase. So, according to the rules of the English Language, the Second Amendment doesn’t grant anyone the God given right to firearm ownership outside of a well regulated militia.
And that’s the point. That amendment has nothing to do with granting people any gun they want no matter what, period. That’s not the way it was interpreted until the recent SCOTUS decision that was brought to you entirely by dumbass Republicans. Who were wrong.
I’ll let the article finish itself…
Gun rights advocates like to quote various founding fathers opinions on ownership of firearms such as, “No Freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [in his own lands or tenements].” – Thomas Jefferson, proposed Virginia State Constitution, June, 1776. Indeed, many of the Founding Fathers did hold the personal opinion that every free man should have the right to own a firearm. But that was their personal opinions. When it came to actually wording the Second Amendment they chose to phrase it differently. Why do you think the Founding Fathers ended up agreeing on the particular language they used? Do you think it was by chance? That they didn’t have a firm grasp on grammar and sentence structure? I don’t.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 15, and Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, of the Constitution specifically granted to the Congress and the President the power to call out and command the militia when needed. They consciously and intentionally took that power out of the hands of the individual states and placed it in the hands of the federal government. Why? Because, and I know it’s not a popular opinion right now…but it’s true; the Founding Fathers wanted a strong federal government. If they didn’t why bother to even write the Constitution the way they did? The Articles of Confederation, or amending them, would have sufficed.
One of the first things the Founding Fathers did after the Bill of Rights passed Congress was register all firearms and inventory all rounds of ammo. In the current political climate just suggesting the idea of registering firearms elicits accusations of being a Nazi who wants to know what guns The People own so they can be confiscated. But it was not always so, the Founding Fathers required it, and the registry wasn’t used to confiscate weapons. The registry was established because if they had to call out the militia, they needed to know what firearms and how much ammo they had at their disposal. Since then there have been eleven federal statutes and countless state laws regulating gun ownership enacted. Yet despite all of the gun laws passed in the US, no administration has ever tried to confiscate anyone’s guns. Every limitation on firearms ownership in the history of this country has included a grandfather clause and only applied to ownership going forward.
In the decades following the founding of our nation regulation of firearms statutes were some of the longest and most complex laws on the books. Georgia banned the sale and carrying of certain handguns in 1837. The ban was partially overturned 8 years later allowing Georgians to carry pistols openly but not carry concealed weapons. Perhaps most infamously, Dodge city banned all guns from town. They had a public safety problem and took care of it legislatively. No problem.
Similarly firearms ownership has been limited over the course of our history. It’s not illegal to own a fully automatic weapon; but it’s not easy or cheap to either. You need to pass a test, have your weapon registered with the FBI and the ATF, it has to have been manufactured before 1986, you have to carry insurance, you have to re-register it regularly, etc. and there are fees attached to every transfer and registration. A good friend of mine forgot to re-register his AK-47 in a timely manner. He got a letter from the FBI saying that if he didn’t get them the paperwork within a week they would assume he was using the weapon for illegal purposes and issue a federal warrant for his arrest. Is that a problem? I don’t think so. Since the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the Hughes Amendment [18 U.S.C. § 922 subsection (o)] in 1986 deaths by automatic weapons have been virtually eliminated.
Ah, but what about the right to defend oneself against a tyrannical government? Well that is a complicated issue. First of all if you think our government is tyrannical, you need to study what truly oppressive governments are like. Secondly, if you think that your AR-15 is a viable defense against 50 cal sniper rifles which can pick you off from 2 miles away, drones which can carpet bomb any given area to the ground without one single military casualty, and military personnel who practice nothing but how to kill every single day; you’re disconnected from reality and probably shouldn’t own a firearm. If you’re really concerned about having to overthrow a tyrannical government you should learn how to hack computers. That is a much better defense against what you’ll actually be fighting than having a Sig, a Kalashnikov, an Uzi, an AR-15, an AK-47, or any and all variations of those guns.
Our Founding Fathers didn’t win the Revolutionary War because of the firepower they had at their disposal, they didn’t even win in any clear military sense. They won because they were able to call allies to their cause, because they were smarter than their enemy, and because there was overwhelming popular support to cast off British rule. There is equally overwhelming popular support for enacting reasonable gun control measures today.
So I’m sorry, but unless you believe that the Founding Fathers were careless with their grammar, and can dovetail that misguided idea with the laws they subsequently passed limiting arms ownership, and then also believe that they meant the Constitution to be written in stone and never ever changed or reinterpreted to fit the needs of a society they couldn’t possibly imagine, and then can somehow reconcile all of that with the fact that every Supreme Court Ruling up until Heller v DC ruled that an individual didn’t have the right under the Second Amendment to own a gun simply for self-defense, the argument that one has a God given right to own any kind of firearm they want… is just out of gas.
Pretty much destroyed every single gun argument I know of. That whole THEY’Z COMIN’ FER YER GERRRNNNNZZZ! panic has zero reason even after regulation and regulations, so their whole Red Dawn terror is useless. The notion of states over federal (which they wildly insist is the prime factor of freedom despite all of our nation’s history) is another useless point. The author even insists that automatic weapon deaths were virtually eliminated after regulations, which is questionable, but statistically you can almost say that. So much for the gun laws don’t work talking point!
And as usual, always glad to see someone rip to pieces that bullshit about guns vs. tyrannical government. That one has to go like yesterday.
Cross posted from http://ift.tt/1M8dHCf