The Illusive Second Amendment

Opinion by Contributor John McNair

USA – -( I watched Tom Selleck on The Rosie O’Donnell show May 19, 1999, where O’Donnell ambushed Selleck on his pro-gun support of the Second Amendment. Although he is one of my heroes of the TV world, he was ill-prepared to stand his ground. He did the best job he could but a little research to support one’s views as a spokesperson would have allowed Selleck to wipe the floor with O’Donnell.

O’Donnell’s stance was that the need for large capacity magazines and assault-style weapons for hunting was a fallacy so the Second Amendment should be repealed.

If you wanted to give yourself an unassailable perspective from which to support your pro-Second Amendment rights, you first must understand constitutional history and why the Second Amendment was written the way it was and why it was included in the Bill of Rights. First, know that the Bill of Rights is simply the first ten amendments to the Constitution, all written by James Madison. Second, you must read Federalist Paper #46, embedded below, over and over again until you thoroughly understand the importance of what Madison was saying.

The Federalist Papers were letters written to and published by newspapers which served the constituents of the framers of the Constitution. They were written by Madison, Hamilton, and Adams under the pseudonym, “Publius”. Federalist Paper #46 was written by Madison on January 29, 1788.

Why every gun owner and pro-gun advocate doesn’t have a copy of #46 hanging from their wall is a ponderous thought. It says nothing of any personal right to own firearms for personal protection, nothing about hunting and certainly nothing about “sport shooting” or sporting firearms. It was all about defeating Government. Read or download your copy below.

The framers of the Constitution were well acquainted with the historical facts where nation after nation, kingdoms, countries, serfdoms and any government which had a standing army always evolved to where the army was used by the ruling factions to subdue the citizenry and subjugate them into poverty. The Federalists wanted a strong central government but were deftly afraid of the power of a standing military, but with the threat of war from France, Britain or Spain the newly fermented America could ill afford not to have the protection of a well-oiled military.

James Madison
James Madison

Historically, European nations and kingdoms required all its citizens to fight for the survival of that nation… if physically able. Additionally, each combatant was required to furnish their own tools of warfare from spears, lances, bows and arrows, horses to the latest musket, perhaps a cannon or if need be, even a bucket of rocks; Whatever they could muster for the defense of the nation. The framers were aware of this practice and Madison incorporated this into his ideas for the drafting of the Second Amendment.

Madison explains in his opulent communicative style the present need for a standing army. However, he offers the construct of allowing every citizen who are not subjects of the contemporary standing military, the God-given right of owning a weapon equal to those owned by the contemporary military so that the future endeavors of the ruling elite could not lead to tyranny by way of the military. Madison writes :

“Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.”

Simply put, Madison explains that an armed citizenry could easily outnumber and out-gun the military and protect the nation or state from the tyranny of a standing military, given equal armament.

The Constitution gives the states the right to form militias of non-military personnel should the need arise. It is this militia of which the Second Amendment speaks.

Article I, Section 8:

“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”

Article 2, Section 2:

“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States”

People often mistake these two sections as the controlling verbiage regarding states and their militias, but they are NOT speaking of the militias of the Second Amendment. The militias of the Second Amendment are defined in the Compact Clause of the Constitution, that is, specifically Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 :

“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

Under the Compact Clause, states may not, without the consent of Congress, keep troops or armies during times of peace. They may not enter into alliances nor compacts with foreign states, nor engage in war unless invaded. States may, however, organize and arm a militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress. (Article I, Section 8, enumerated powers of Congress.)

There has been an ongoing argument that the National Guard is “THE” state militia described in the Compact Clause, but that’s not true in fact and is not open for interpretation. “The federal government recognizes state defense forces, as per the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution, under 32 U.S.C. § 109 which provides that state defense forces as a whole may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the armed forces of the United States, thus preserving their separation from the National Guard”. It is the Compact Clause and the Second Amendment which forms the foundation by which the citizenry are given the organization to fight the federal government in times of tyranny.

Madison’s explanation in Federalist 46 clearly forms the understanding that militias may be necessary to fight the federal government, so, to allow the federal government to have any authority whatsoever over the state militias would be without reason or sense. In the same perspective, the founding fathers never envisioned the hijacking of the Second Amendment with the Commerce Clause.

In 1934 Roosevelt and his New Deal Democrats thought up the scheme of using the Commerce Clause to circumvent the enumerated powers clause of the Constitution allowing the federal government to hijack the authority of the Second Amendment away from the states in the guise of the National Firearms Act. That is, they maintained that the sale and distribution of firearms across state borders allowed the federal government to regulate not only the sale of weapons but also any aspect of owning, building, shipping and transfer of firearms and even any social laws associated with firearms like the age at which a person may own or buy a weapon.

The first test case of this new-found authority of the National Firearms Act (NFA, of 1934) came in the form US v Miller. Miller was arrested for carrying a sawed-off shotgun across state lines in defiance of the new National Firearms Act. Miller was initially found guilty, but an appeals court threw out the conviction on the grounds that the NFA was unconstitutional. Chief Justice McReynolds of the Supreme Court upheld the conviction based on the supposition that a sawed-off shotgun was not a weapon of the contemporary military. McReynolds failed to elaborate on the Constitutionality of the NFA but went on to write that to circumvent one amendment with the use of another amendment was an abomination and was outside the spirit of the Constitution.

Incidentally the New Deal democrats used the same methodology to take over the authority of the states to supervise insurance and the manufacture of drugs. The Commerce Clause has been widely used to justify the imposition of federal rule in many ways. This federal authority over the Second Amendment was widely expanded by the Gun Control Act in 1968 by the Johnson Administration to where federal authorities coined the use of the term “Sporting firearms”…a term which has never been defined but rather described as a firearm having certain features and is used to limit the ownership of many types of firearms. The idea of “sporting firearms” was a deception invented by Johnson’s Democrats to refocus the idea that firearms were for a defense against tyranny and substituted the idea that guns were for sport. Sporting firearms look benign and harmless and are for fun and if they look menacing they should not be owned by the public. The GCA also started the registration of firearms but this was stopped by some new legislation termed the Firearms Owners and Protection Act of 1986. It was an act that seemed to be favorable to gun owners but was a smoke screen for the government to end ownership of fully automatic firearms although it was touted as the end of gun registration. Guns are still registered in unique ways that are not openly portrayed as actual registration.

The Second Amendment was never envisioned to be in the control of the federal government because the Second Amendment was meant to be a tool to control the federal government. Else, what would be the purpose?

Minute Man Statue Concord Massachusetts Militia Colonial BEar Arms
The Second Amendment was never envisioned to be in the control of the federal government because the Second Amendment was meant to be a tool to control the federal government. Else, what would be the purpose?

That brings us to District of Columbia vs. Heller. A case many regards as a Godsend to the proponents of the Second Amendment. Heller sued the District of Columbia so he could get a permit to carry his pistol in his home without it being encumbered with locks and so forth. An appeals court found in favor of Heller, so the District of Columbia appealed to the Supreme Court where the decision was again found in favor of Heller. The District of Columbia was forced by Heller into allowing the licensing of firearms in the home without all the hindrances.

Chief Justice Scalia wrote the decision for the majority:

Although it was positive in some respects, it should be viewed in contempt in others in that it fails to address the circumvention of the Second Amendment with the Commerce Clause. It did not remove the authority of the federal government. But that aspect was not argued as an element of the suit. Also, it refocuses the intent of the Second Amendment from the preservation of the state to personal protection.

Neither Madison nor Hamilton nor Adams ever mention any right of the individual to carry arms for any reason other than for the protection of the state or its people from the tyranny of the government and its standing military. Scalia breaks down each word of the Second Amendment and cites meaning and relativity to it in a modern-day sense…like the word “arms”… does it define firearms in the modern-day meaning and so forth? He also inspects each verb and noun for the application. He goes on to say that “to bear arms” is not limited to military use.

“There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose.” (What? Battling the federal government is not a type of confrontation?)

…“We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns.”(Miller says that the Second Amendment protects those weapons owned by the individual used by the contemporary military.)

… “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. (Ever hear of the Viet Cong?) But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right. “(Scalia is saying that to combat today’s military would require weapons not allowable in today’s society.) Also, Scalia seems to have forgotten the American Indians, the Viet Cong, the Middle East and factions in Africa where modern weapons were overcome with heart, soul and human courage.

…” In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense. Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.”

…”That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

It is clear that the framers did not allow the Second Amendment to be a ward of the federal government as it was not enumerated. History, however, is replete with examples where the federal government ignored the word and spirit of the Constitution and took the states right to govern its citizenry as it saw fit. Even though Justice McReynolds noted that the arms allowed by the Second Amendment were those of the contemporary military, Scalia bends and shapes the Second Amendment to end its attachment with the protection of the state and molds it into solely for the protection of the individual leaving the concept of militias behind. Scalia noted in Heller that the arms of the Second Amendment could never equal the planes and the tanks of today’s modern army. Quietly, the framers biggest nightmare has come true, and tyranny by the federal government and its standing military has come in the form of the massive military industrial complex Eisenhower once warned us of.


So, the federal government has morphed the Second Amendment into a law of self-protection and away from a law of state preservation. Some people are wondering what side Scalia was really on by changing the focus of the Second Amendment. If it was more about self-protection and not state protection then, not too far in the distant future, Senator Chuck Schumer will be telling everyone that he agrees with Heller, then adding… but people don’t need the likes an AR-15 for “self-protection.” If Scalia had banged the drum toward preservation of the state the type of firearm could not be limited but now that it’s all about self-preservation and protection Scalia has opened the door to a new wave of restrictions and limitations.

John McNair

FEDERALIST No. 46 the Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared

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Jim Macklin

Elliot’s DEBATES chronicles the debates in the Virginia House concerning ratification of the Constitution of 1787 . Patrick Henry spoke at length about the flaws. He said things about the Power a President would have, from memory, he said “the President will be saluted a King, your militia will desert you and fight against you. What will then become of you and your rights?”
The result was the Bill of Rights.

Wild Bill

@jh45gun Macklin, I have been wondering, just out of curiosity, are you Jim Macklin of the Wichata, Kansas Macklins?

Jim Macklin

Yes, for 40 years, before that Illinois, Oklahoma, a sort while in Iowa.

Wild Bill

@jh45gun Macklin, I read your latest published piece! Most perspicacious and insightful.

Jim Macklin

Wild Bill,
I should hope so. Thank you. I’ve been doing this almost 60 years. As I recall my first letter to the editor was published by the Chicago Tribune when I was about 12.
Nobody seems to understand either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights very well.

Maybe some people, such as yourself, will see an insight.

What part of te world do you call home?

Wild Bill

@JM, The Lakes and Pines region of Rep. of Texas.

Jim Macklin

Part of the family moved to Texas almost 50 years ago. My brother moved to Dallas, then bought some land outside of Van Alstyne.
I hang out a lot on


Good old Stallwell from california opened his big, stupid mouth again and stuck his foot in it. He argued with someone that there will be no civil war because the government can just nuke them. The government is going to nuke it’s own citizens, that is akin to Syria bombing it’s citizens with nerve gas. Maybe this is what the democrats are thinking to protect themselves from our guns if TSHTF.


except that the LEGITIMATE government of Syria never did use nerve gas on its people, or on any others. The first such event, perhaps two or three years ago, was PROVEN to have been an incompetent member of the imported rebel force that was trying to take down the legitimate government. He was unfamiliar with the device, and set it off unintentionially. I thought it was bogus from the git go because all the lame stream press instantly blamed the Syrian government. No time to even figure out who dunnit or why. Sort of like the calls for banning AR… Read more »

Ansel Hazen

You bring to mind a short lived TV series called “Jericho”.

Larry Brickey

You have a source for your assertions that it was the rebels who used gas?


I cannot remember a source to cite, that was three or so years ago, the first time Syrian government were accused of gassing their own. I DO recall, however, that some international body that “investigates’ such things deployed, examined the remains of the device and trces of the gas, and medical reports of those harmed…. determined it was NOT of the same stocks the Syran government then had in store, but from some other source, which I cannot recall either. Seems likely the source may have been British or Russian news…. it cited names and sources. I later saw non-mainstream… Read more »

Anthony V Ambrose

What a great and non hysterical discussion concerning the theory of the intent and purpose of the Second Amendment. I say non hysterical as anti gun proponents would not comprehend the founders intent. Regardless of how much we have evolved technologicaly, the underlying reason, keeping the elitists or those with tyrannical ambitions in check. Well done.


What if the words “a free state” utilize the word state as an adverb. State or condition. Substitute the word condition and it makes a whole lot more sense, conceptually. I know, I’m crazy, but I think it was why it was worded thus.


What if the words “a free state” utilize the word state as an adverb. State or condition. Substitute the word condition and it makes a whole lot more sense, conceptually. I know, I’m crazy, but I think it was why it was worded thus.


My understanding has long been that the word “state” meant simply “civil society”, and certainly did NOT mean what the word means today, the State of Nevada, or whatever, as a political entity. Thus the people of the town of Acton were resposnibiel for the security of the “state”, or socio=political entity, known as Acton, and thus the residents of that town made ALL their decisions, preparations, etc, bearing their own burden for “the security of a free Acton”, formed the militia, drilled, maade themselves “regular”, a well-oiled group that could, and as history demonstrates, did, see to their own… Read more »

Jim Macklin

The Framers tried to use the same word to mean the same thing wherever and when ever used. Governments have powers granted by the people. The people are individuals who may act in concert or individually.
People have rights. Governments have powers. It is that simple.
The preamble says government promotes the general welfare. FDR changed the definition of welfare and that has injured and destroyed the family, put the nation into debt and just because the definition of one word was changed.



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.
Who has the right to keep and bear Arms?
The Militia or the people?


A well-balanced Breakfast being necessary to the start of a Healthy Day, the right

of the people to keep and eat Food shall not be infringed.”

Who has a right to keep and eat Food?

The Breakfast or the people?

Michael J

The United States Constitution is the greatest document ever written. It has been tested under fire from both the left and right. It still protects “We the People” but as history points out it’s bein erroded from within.
Politicians who swore under oath when they take office to protect, defend and enforce the Constitution then lie as they attempt to destroy it are never held accountable.
There are no loop holes in this document, it’s not outdated and those elected with plans to destroy it must be removed.

Jim Macklin

Unlike the Bible, every word in the Constitution and Bill of Rights is documented and the intent and meaning was explained. Except for two extra commas in the Second Amendment, the words have not changed. But the English language evolves and some try to apply new meanings to original intent. As ratified the Second Amendment had one comma and two clauses. The right itself is contained in the second clause, the reason in the first. “A well regulated militia being necessary to thew security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not… Read more »

David H Bolin

I wonder what implication this bit of history might have to the argument. As a reaction to the Nazi conquests in Europe, Congress passed the Property Requisition Act of 1941 authorizing the President to requisition certain property for defense, but prohibiting any construction of the act to “require the registration of any firearms possessed by any individual for his personal protection or sport” or “to impair or infringe in any manner the right of any individual to keep and bear arms.” As originally proposed in the Senate, the bill in question—S.1579— gave the president wide powers to authorize the requisition… Read more »

Steve Common Sense

The first 10 amendments were added to the Constitution as a block because it would not have been passed without them.

The often overlooked phrase “well regulated” means that the Founders intended militias to be under the control of state governments. They would not have approved self-declared private militias.

Today, even if a state formed its own militia (ignoring that many of them are broke), no way could it stand up to the Department of Defense.


Imaginative and wrong. Well regulated means properly and efficiently functioning, not “controlled.” Regulation of a motor is done to make it work well. Regulation by government is done quite often to keep things from working well. Regulation of militias is meant to say that they are well organized, well trained, and well supplied, capable for the role of defending against tyranny, and not that they are restricted to the will and whim of government. You have fallen for a corrupt evolution of meaning that has been attached to an originally noble word. A militia controlled by government (your proposed meaning… Read more »

Jim Macklin

Yes, “well regulated” was defined by the first Militia Act. The Caliber, bore or gauge of muskets, the quantity of ammunition and other details such as knives and blankets were defined. The United States unlike European nations has a public park or “green” in almost every town. In Europe parks are of a different character. The reason is the militia was expected to muster monthly “on the green” for inspection of their arms, munitions and equipment. The Militia Act has been updated many times to reflect new technology. From 1775 to 1905 the USA military manpower was in the State… Read more »


Well trained, self-disciplined and outfitted, NOT governmentally “regulated” as through bureaus and committees. Words have changed in their definitions.

Wild Bill

@Steve, But those first ten amendment were not debated as a block. Each of those Rights were debated and refined prior to being enumerated into the Constitution. It is legally inconsequential if they were voted on as a block or not. You have “well regulated” all wrong, and the militia already exists and is identified. And you are part of it. As to militia standing up to the DoD, it does not have to. We have many contacts among our former comrades, and influence. If you are depending on the Army or Marines turning on the gun owning public, you… Read more »


“well regulated” means that the Founders intended militias to be under the control of state governments. They would not have approved self-declared private militias. Didjya even READ the full text of the article? It was clearly shown, on multiple levels, how and WHY local communiity militias WERE the express intent of that Second Article, and that the reason this was, and continues to be, the case is so that the LOCAL BOYS can stand against the tyranny of federal and/or state government when necessary. READ the history of that conflict back then, the one that began at Lexington Commons and… Read more »

Jim Macklin

Article 1, Section 8 Militia clause granted power to Congress over the arming and deployment of the militia. Patrick Henry and others objected because a militia armed by the government is not a deterrent to a tyrant in the government. The Second Amendment was written so the people were in charge of arming themselves, “the right to keep and bear arms” so that an unorganized militia, such as The Minutemen , the people of Montana against the sheriff Plummer, or the post WWII vets who made their votes count in the Battle of Athens. Local World War II veterans and… Read more »


The founding fathers had no clue of the scope of weapons we have available today. Your in-house arsenal isn’t going to do jack shit against a government that can simply drop a drone-held bomb on you and be done with it. And be honest, the average gun owner can’t hit the broadside of a barn, but they think they can ward off the military who train daily for war and can cap a target more than 100 yards away? Sure. Such fantasy.

William E Dungey

They don’t stress marksmanship in the military of today, they do stress lots of bullets quickly, and indirect fires and supressive fires and bigger and badder, but they don’t stress marksmanship. Cap a target? Yeah, that sounds military.


How do you know that the average gun owner can’t hit the broadside of a barn? Have you researched a representative sample of the 100 million gun owners in the US? Or is this just a version of Everytown’s claim that there’s no evidence of good guys with guns stopping a criminal’s violent attack?


You sir are an uninformed jackass. I can guarantee you that most if not almost all gun owners shoot better than the military. And if armed citizens can’t compete with our military, how did we get our asses handed to us in Vietnam? How about Iraq? If the 42 percent of Americans who owned guns stood up in revolution against the government, they too would win. And also do you think that military members are going to fight their own people? Highly doubtful.


And you would be VERY mistaken if you think I will take your “honestly” meme and swallow it. I have personally been involved with the training in skill at arms of a few thousand individuals. I have watched TEN year olds on the range, fully able to “cap a target” at a hundred yards.. with a .22 rifle and iron sights. One of those ten year olds, now a noung man of 18, has owned his own M1 Garand and can put all eight rounds in a two inch circle at 400 yards in less than a minute. Increase the… Read more »

Wild Bill

Fbomber is so wrong. His assertions are based on presuming the minds of the founding fathers, what is in my house, the skill level of gun owners, what is average, and what “the military” (six different services) train on daily. Such a fantasy.


I see an interesting parallel here between what we, the hundred million or so gun owners in this country, and I, the single gun owner are forced to deal with when confronted by a life-threatening opponent. When I was in the process of obtaining my concealed carry permit, I had to go through training on the moral and legal ramifications of carrying a concealed deadly weapon. I was told bluntly that hesitation would get me killed. I was told that before I ever decided to strap on the pistol, I had to decide if I was really, really willing to… Read more »

Eric Lautz

Inspiring and Well said!!!…..I am right behind you! Lol


Read the second amendment as the rule of law. That the people can be armed like the militia, for the militia is still a force under the control of government and government cannot be trusted.

David E. Young

Regarding this article’s “quote” from Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution: “States may, however, organize and arm a militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” All three Clauses of Article 1, Section 10 begin with “No State shall”. None begin with “States may, however” or refer to the subject under discussion. The documentation the “quote” links to is a U.S. State Dept. site that presents no such language. This article has a serious documentation problem here. It is also confused regarding what the two sides in Heller were arguing about. Justice Scalia did not address the… Read more »

Old Jarhead

Absolutely correct! The author should have referenced Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16.


What current judges argue have no bearing unless supported by the documented intent of those writing and ratifying the Constitution and its amendments. “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” Note that the phrase is modified with “IN TIME OF PEACE.” So, if the state can’t have troops in TIME OF PEACE,… Read more »

Jim Macklin

David E. Young is an expert on the Second Amendment. The Issue in HELLER was limited to te Washington, DC handgun ban. The SCOTUS has always limited its opinions to the smallest part needed to answer the question. If I recall correctly the Cruikshank case stated that the right to keep and bear arms was not created by the Second Amendment and the right did not depend on the amendment. Previously posted, re-posted for clarity… Posted on Ammoland Jim Macklin says: November 9, 2018 at 9:23 AM Why do the people need an AR 15 or an M1 Garand or… Read more »

Kenneth Clark

For hundreds of years there has never been any question about the second amendment, now all the sudden we are all stupid .. The Marxist movement growing in government will have you believe what has been part of this wonderful free country is false.. They will lie, cheat and steal to push socialist views on us.. They are brainwashing school children, using bigotry to divide us.. We as citizens must stick together.. We can’t allow radical leftists to use these transparent tactics to further their agenda.. Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow or Plaid.. Male, Female or anyone in between.. We… Read more »

David Ihde

My only disagreement would be the author’s claim of state militias instead of militias of the several states. In other words, the Constitution bans states from keeping ships of war or troops in times of peace without the consent of Congress unless actually invaded or such imminent danger thereof to cause no further delay. Thus, the second amendment is clearly the people’s right, not the states or the Federal government. Neither can regulate what type of arms we can keep and bear.


The Bill of rights is simply written. All the academic stuff while interesting is just not really not necessary–just read the words. We are constantly defending the Second Amendment from the enemy politicos–when comes the time IT begins to actively defend us ?


Soon, Brother Patriot, soon.


A more recent clarification of the Second Amendment may be found in J. Neil Schulman’s article “The Unabridged Second Amendment”, wherein the author solicits the assistance of a renowned authority (Roy Copperud, a retired professor of journalism at the University of Southern California and the author of American Usage and Style: The Consensus) on the English language and the origin and usage of words through time.

jim smith

The purpose of the Second Amendment is clearly stated in the preamble to the Bill of Rights where it says “The convention of a number of states having at the time of their adopting of the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse, of its powers that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”. Note that when the Second Amendment was written, every weapon was a weapon of war, there were no restrictions on the private ownership of weapons and the militia was equally matched with the Continental Army. After all, if they weren’t equally… Read more »


just to clarify, John Jay, not John Adams, contributed to writing the Federalist Papers

Keith G. Langer

The word you are trying for is Elusive.

“Illusive” is not even a word.


Illusive is actually a word, and is the proper word in this context. Look it up before making yourself look stupid.

Pete Hodgkins

Illusive most certainly IS a word. It is an adjective meaning deceptive, or illusory.

Scott Fortney

Ha ha ha. I vote get a dictionary. Context matters.


Adverb Illusive
Based on or having the nature of an illusion
“illusive hopes of finding a better job”

Joseph O’Reillu

An Excellent explication of the historical and philosophical origins of the Second Ammendment, I believe the author’s assessment of Senator Schumer is too generous. He does not need a logical, if limited means to attack our rights but will, as with so many other issues, invent ‘facts’, events and where possible, create ‘experts’ an data to suit his preferred outcome. Without either shame or scruple, he is symptomatic of the corruption of our institutions and the futility of expecting change. It is time to stand up and answer the ‘any means necessary ‘ mob with by all means available. The… Read more »


Very good article. One typo for correction. AR-15 vice 16 at the bottom.


Well said! Scalia did go off in the wrong direction.
But now, how do we go about fixing years of misinformation and misdirection?
Sad how this country is changing from unique-in-history to just another futile social experiment.

Wild Bill

@Happy Everafter You ask, “… how do we go about fixing years of misinformation and misdirection?” We get Trump to appoint Don Willett of Texas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to the next S. Ct vacancy.


Ignorant anti-gunners always go for the hunting angle. If they would take the time to read the 2A they might discover that its not about hunting, or self defense for that matter. The MSM propagates that myth, and honestly gun owners are guilty of using hunting as a reason for ownership as is it easier to swallow. Better to expose the lies that the MSM spreads. Trump may have been right when he declared the ‘fake news’ as the enemy of the people. Propaganda has been used for centuries to sway public perception. Look what Hitler was able to do.… Read more »


Outstanding. Not only should one go about mounting a mounted copy of Federalist 46 on their wall, but print out this entire article including the hyper links, and mount this beneath the copy of Federalist 46. Excellent work.

Dale Walters

No you are wrong, the people have a right to protection from our own goverment,to protect from invaders,our homes,our family’s our land’s and the new one,,,socialism

David Seel

To fully understand the purpose of the 2nd amendment, you must go back further to John Locke’s social contract theory in the Second Treatise of Government. It was John Locke that influenced the creation of the United States under Social Contract, which is to remove the Government’s power if it were to violate the Natural Rights of the individual. The 2nd amendment is based on the Natural and unalienable Right to defend Life, Liberty, and Property by any ethical means to include the use of arms.

Jericho Lewis

The 10 Amendments must be understood in their context. They are not incidentals or suggestions controlled and manipulated by governmental sanctions. They are not peripheral ideals but fundamental inalienable self-evident Truths inherent within each individual of We the People. They are the Bill or supreme fundamental law of human rights characteristic to the Law of Nature and Nature’s God and not designed by political agendas and Supreme Court decisions. The fundamental Truths of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, are only realized and experienced as sovereign responsible and accountable individuals who are independent of governmental sanctions. The language of… Read more »

Art Weaver

Am absolutely excellent rendition and analysis of the Second Amendment! I often refer people on both sides of the gun argument to the Federalist Papers and the writings of Thomas Jefferson. Letter #46 clearly establishes the founders intentions in crafting the Second Amendment as a means to defending the interests of the people against a rogue government. It also equally points out as clear violations of the Constitution any laws, limitations, or restrictions placed upon the ownership of weapons. A citizen must be allowed to possess weapons that not only equal but surpass the capability of any the military establishment… Read more »

Heed the Call-up

Art, I also believe governments should not have nor use biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. And the governments that possess and use them do so for the reasons you mentioned, fear and control. The issues with private ownership comes down to the same issues the government has with safe storage and use of these arms. As far as arms that one individual can’t reasonably “bear” on one’s own person, even at the time the Bill of Rights was passed, individuals were allowed to and did own cannons and other “large” arms. Also, militia groups were provided “large” arms by individuals… Read more »

Cranberry Dad

Good luck controlling today’s military with your hunting rifle.

Every time the right wing votes for a military expansion I shake my head thinking “they are voting for their own subjugation”.


Bottom line is that Mason wrote (mostly) the Bill of Rights with the encouragement of many other founders to do just one thing; that thing was to have these rights to protect citizens of the new republic from their own and foreign governments! The Democrats and liberals, socialists and communists (pretty much the same at the top) are basically a foreign government–that that is why they MUST get rid of that Second Amendment “problem.”