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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2008 at 09:38
supertool73 View Drop Down
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[quote]
We don’t need no steenking 2nd Amendment

By John Silveira


I usually get up to the magazine from southern California in plenty of time for the bimonthly deadline. Not this issue. I was late and way behind. But getting up here late doesn’t lessen my workload; it just stretches out the number of hours I have to work each day. There’s less time to relax, visit, or spend with friends. That said, three of us, Dave Duffy, O.E. MacDougal, and I went shooting anyway and depreciated a huge amount of ammunition on a hillside up behind Duffy’s house. Duffy, of course, is the fellow who publishes this magazine. Mac is Dave’s poker-playing friend from the old days.

After a hard day of knocking down cans and collecting brass, we got back to the office and discovered that Dave’s old college buddy, Bill, had stopped by. Dave and Bill began talking about old times, but the phone rang and took Dave out of the conversation.

I, in the meantime, had disassembled my rifle and there were pieces in my lap and some on my desk. Mac was off in the corner reading a copy of the last issue of BHM.

“What are you doing with that?” Bill asked.

I looked up. He was talking to me. I looked down in my lap at the gun parts I had there. “I’m cleaning it,” I said.

“What do you need it for?” he asked.

“I don’t usually clean them but...”

“No, not why do you need to clean it, why do you need a gun?”

“Why do I need it?”

“Yes.”

“I want it,” I said.

“But why do you need one?” he persisted.

“Need one?” I asked again, not understanding his question. “I don’t follow you.”

“How many guns do you have?”

“You mean ‘own’ or how many did I bring up with me?”

My question seemed to put him off.

“How many do you own?” he asked in a voice that was tinged with exasperation. “How many guns do you have here, there, and everywhere?” I thought a minute. “About a dozen.”

He screwed up his face. “What do you need 12 guns for? If you need a gun, one should be enough.”

“Enough for what?”

“What do you need a gun for?”

The meaning of the 2nd Amendment

He was back to that. “I don’t know where this is going. I don’t even understand your question,” I said. “I don’t have to need a gun to own one any more than I need a CD player or a couch to own one of those. The 2nd Amendment says I can have them. It doesn’t say I have to show a need and it doesn’t limit the number I can own.”

Bill shook his head. “So, you’re one of those.”

Dave finished his call and turned to us as he hung up and said, “Bill, what do you mean by needing a gun?”

“The 2nd Amendment isn’t about you guys owning guns,” Bill said. “It’s about the state having guns. It says you’re only allowed guns if you’re part of the militia and I don’t see any of you guys with uniforms. The 2nd Amendment is about the National Guard.”

“I don’t think that’s what it means,” Dave said.

“It says it right in the amendment. It’s for the militia. You can even ask Mac,” he said and pumped his thumb back to the corner where Mac was quietly reading. “I’ll bet even he agrees with me.”

I think Bill was baiting Mac. He and Mac had had a lively discussion about our rights the last time Bill was here about two years ago (Issue No. 44 March/April 1997). But Mac didn’t look up. He just kept reading.

Dave got out of his seat and pulled down the almanac from the bookcase and flipped through the pages.

Then he began to read, “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.”

“See,” Bill said. “It’s about having a well regulated militia. Militia—that’s military. It’s not about you.”

“Well, a whole bunch of people think it’s about individual gun ownership”, Dave said.

“But it’s not. Read the amendment again. It’s about the militia. It’s only you gun nuts who think it’s about you.”

I shrugged. The wording of the 2nd Amendment has always bothered me.

But Dave looked off into the corner to where Mac was still reading. “What do you think?” he asked.

Mac just looked at us and smiled, then went back to his magazine.

“See,” Bill said. “Even he knows it’s about the National Guard, not you guys.”

“The National Guard didn’t exist when the 2nd Amendment was written. It came into existence over a century later,” Mac said without looking up and he continued to read.

“What?” Dave asked.

“I said the 2nd Amendment isn’t about the National Guard. The Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791. The act that created the National Guard wasn’t enacted until 1903.”

“Well, you know what I mean,” Bill said. “It’s to allow the states to have state police and things like that.”

Mac continued to read.

“Is that true?” I asked.

Mac looked up when he realized I was talking to him.

“You mean was it for the state police and such?” he asked me.

“Yes,” I replied.

“No.”

Bill smiled. “Mac, it says right there in black and white—Dave just read it to us—that it’s to ensure we have a well regulated militia.”

I looked expectantly to Mac who seemed to be getting impatient because he really was trying to read.

“Could you give us a little input into this?” I asked him.

“I can tell you that when the Founding Fathers used the word militia, it meant something different to them than what it means to us now,” and he continued reading.

“Is that all you’ve got to say?”

I asked.

He looked at me, then back at his magazine. He knew we weren’t going to let him stay out of this and he reluctantly closed it.

What is the militia?

Now that I had him I asked, “What’s this about how the guys who founded this country used the word militia?”

“You’ve got to understand what the militia is,” he said. “In May of 1792, five months after the adoption of the 2nd Amendment, the Militia Act was passed. That act distinguished between the enrolled militia and the organized militia. Before the passing- of that act, there was only the enrolled militia, which was the body of all able-bodied men between the ages of 17 and 44, inclusively, and it is that militia to which the 2nd Amendment refers. It couldn’t refer to the organized militia because it didn’t exist yet. The 2nd Amendment was to ensure that this body of citizens is armed and that’s why the Founding Fathers thought to place it in the Bill of Rights. Legally, both militias still exist.”

“Are you saying I’m in some militia?” Bill asked derisively.

“By law, you were. I would guess that, by now, you’re over that age.”

“So, you’re also saying only people between 17 and 44 are allowed guns, right?”

“No,” Mac replied. “That’s just the ages of the body of men constituting the militia. The amendment says the people can both keep and bear arms.

It’s usually been construed to mean all the people.”

“I don’t believe you.”

Mac shrugged, reopened his magazine and resumed reading.

“What don’t you believe?” I asked.

“Anything. First, I don’t believe that I’m part of any militia or ever was. Second, I don’t believe that the 2nd Amendment refers to the people at large and not the army or some other state or federal organization.”

“I still don’t get this thing about the organized and the enrolled militia?” Dave said.

Mac put
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2008 at 15:11
koshkin View Drop Down
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That is very good.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2008 at 15:46
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Well worth the read, enlightening.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2008 at 15:59
Ed Connelly View Drop Down
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How do you enlighten the people, the product of 200 years of apathy, about all this?  90% of this country only knows, for the moment, what they were told on TV yesterday.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2008 at 16:01
Dogger View Drop Down
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Generally takes some cataclysmic event unfortunately.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2008 at 16:33
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Excellent read,  there are know words or thoughts that I can convey that will do it justice.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2008 at 19:53
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good read--thanks
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