Friday, July 28, 2023

Understanding the Comprehensive Context of the Second Amendment in 2A Court Cases: More than Just 27 Words


Related to a previous AmmoLand write-up about Judge Roger T. Benitez vigorously safeguarding the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution against various breaches enacted by the California administration, a commenter stated: 

Working hard.?? Isn't it just twenty-seven words?

"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."

This sentiment of exasperation is common among many Second Amendment supporters. Sometimes, their frustration is condensed into four words: … "shall not be infringed"!

A notable case in which a judge simply cited the Second Amendment was U.S. v Miller, brought to the Supreme Court in 1939 by the Roosevelt administration, known for its anti-Second Amendment stance, abetted by their anti-Second Amendment judge appointee, Heartsill Ragon.

The obstacle with merely uttering “What is it, like 27 words?’ or “Shall not be infringed” lies in the leftists' or progressives' core strength, which is the ability to manipulate language by insisting on their interpretations and definitions. Progressives' common counterargument to the Second Amendment is that it's a "collective right," not an individual one, or that "the people" refer solely to state governments or those individuals permitted to exercise the right through licenses and other measures.

The phrase “shall not be infringed” naturally raises the question: What shall not be infringed? The typical answer is: "The right to keep and bear arms."

Consequently, the question evolves to: What does the right of the people to keep and bear arms mean? You may believe you have the answer. As do Progressives. As does Senator Schumer. But remember, the Constitution is a legal document.

The practical approach to interpret the words of this legal document, the Constitution, is to understand what they signified to the parties who approved the document when it was first formulated and ratified.

This concept is known as originalism. It is the doctrine that currently prevails at the Supreme Court. For the better part of the last 90 years, the Supreme Court has predominantly followed the doctrine of a "living Constitution," stemming from Progressive ideology. The Progressives believe the Constitution should mean whatever enlightened judges decide it should mean, at the moment they rule, for the betterment of the nation (as long as the judges are Progressives). This ideology is fundamentally about enabling the government to act as it wishes or claims it needs to.

Now that the Supreme Court is reverting to originalism as the proper means to interpret the Constitution, the hundreds of pages of briefs on the Second Amendment's meaning all aim to demonstrate what the operative clause "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" signified at the time of ratification. There's a hint of what the prefatory clause "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" means. The debates about the militia clause are less intense because the prefatory clause doesn't restrict the operative clause, as understood at the time of ratification and in regular English construction.

Given that opponents are adept at contorting words and they control a majority of the media, universities, and significant influencers of popular culture, precision and care are needed in formulating arguments. This is where Judge Benitez shines with his logically sound and reasoned arguments.

It would indeed be an ideal scenario if those opposing an armed populace agreed on the definition of words, upheld logic and reason, and never lied or acted deceitfully. It would be fantastic if the dominant media could be trusted to report truthfully and without bias. However, the reality is that we can't count on the opponents of an armed populace to be honest, use common definitions appropriately, or report accurately.

Hence, more than just the 27 words of the Second Amendment or the four words "shall not be infringed" are required to argue the case in court. Expounding what the Second Amendment signified at the time of its ratification requires more than a few pages, especially when faced with adversaries who refuse to be bound by common definitions, logic, reason, ethics, or morals.

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