the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed
Wanna guess where this line is quoted from?
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.
Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto?
Mao Tse Teng?
The Khmer Rouge?
Apparently a lot of people don’t know.
I’d include in that list John Paul Stephens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and of course, Sonia Sotomayor.
It says “the people”. They contend “the people” actually means “the states”. Now, to me, this is the true definition of conservative. Writing for the majority:
“In sum, it is clear that the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty,” Alito’s opinion states.
“The Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense,” Breyer wrote. “There has been, and is, no consensus that the right is, or was, ‘fundamental.’ No broader constitutional interest or principle supports legal treatment of that right as fundamental.”
In other words, “the people” are actually “the state”. And, so long as the state behaved in an acceptable manner, individuals had no right to form a militia.
Conservative – people=people.
Liberal – people=something else, depending on the personal interpretation of the word “people” by the person doing the interpreting. But, since the “person” doing the interpreting could apparently be the state, it would mean that the as long as the state felt it was behaving in a fair manner, it wouldn’t have to subject itself to pesky people with guns.
Now, my problem with this is it is very clear in its intent. The people, that would be you and me, have the right to defend ourselves from whatever we may feel is an aggressor. It could be the British Army, it could be the US government, it could be Communists during WWII. It could be Morgan’s Raiders. It didn’t matter. If someone were attacking you, you had the unabridgeable right to protect yourself.
Because the Founding Fathers did not seem to think their statement was debatable, they kept it simple. I don’t think they ever imagined a time when the “smartest” we had to offer could not understand the intent of the word “people”.
Now, what they are trying to do is to say a state can form a militia if necessary. But, that’s not how it was in 1776. In 1776 states did not keep standing armies. In case of a conflict, they sent out a message to all who would come to fight and they brought their arms with them. That is the primary difference between an army, and a militia. So, in order to accept the argument John Paul Stephens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor are making, you have to accept that “people” doesn’t mean people and that “militia” meant something totally different then than it does now. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, then what Stephens is saying makes some sense. In other words, you have to be very liberal in the translation of common words to get a totally different meaning than what is obviously written.
Right now Elena Kagan is testifying before the Senate on why they should confirm her as a Supreme Court judge. They will because she’s a Democrat. What I guarantee you you will not hear is her definition of “people” or “militia”.