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Guns for Kids

April 17, 2007

I thought today would be a good day to re-read the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

Right to bear arms.

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.

Does this language seem clear to you?  I am not a Second Amendment scholar by any means.   I must confess that I have harboured misconceptions about what the Amendment actually says.  I thought, and apparently I am not alone, that the Second Amendement clearly guaranteed the right of an individual to bear arms.  Maybe I missed this class in Con law–but, to my reading, the language of the Second Amendment seems to guarantee a State’s right to arm its well regulated militia.

Curious, I turned to the ever trusty Lexis.  Apparently, there are two main views as to the meaning of the language: 

“Debate has been sharply polarized between those who claim that the amendment guarantees nothing to individuals, protects only the state’s right to maintain organized military units, and thus poses no obstacle to gun control (the “exclusively state’s right” view), and those who claim that the amendment guarantees some sort of individual right to arms (the “individual right” view).” 82 Mich. L. Rev.  204.

The individual right view is accepted by a majority of the general populace but the state’s right view is accepted by the legal community, including the ABA.  (yes people, I was in line with the hoi polloi in my understanding of this major issue and I apologize)

I think that both sides of the debate have some good points as far as legislative interpretation goes–though I doubt the Framers would have applauded the rampant gun violence in this country–  But I do not think that the Second Amendment should pose as much of an obstacle to gun control as it does.  



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