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.
Or, so reads the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. That seemingly straightforward sentence contains some of the most hotly debated words in our country. One part of it in particular makes up a majority of the debate, and that is the “well regulated” part.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding it because it means something totally different today than it did when spoken or penned by the founding fathers.
This usually leads to one of two different outcomes.
- The first, is that many gun folks leave it out of their arguments because they try to avoid attempting to explain it away to the second one, which is …
- Anti-gunners use it in their arguments thinking they know what well regulated means, when in today’s terms it means something totally different than when the founding fathers used it.
Not knowing what a phrase means, especially when it’s a part of such an important document like the Constitution can be a problem that leads many astray in their attempts to decipher meaning. So, from here on out, we’ll be addressing the anti-gunners, specifically, to help them understand that this term does NOT mean what they think it does.
Let’s jump in head first.
What does Well Regulated mean?
Well regulated was a term that was often used to describe something mechanical like a clock. To say that a clock was well regulated meant that it was functioning properly. Or, it meant that it was calibrated right.
Never has it ever until recent times meant “rules.” It meant at the time of the writing of the United States Constitution, and especially the Second Amendment, that something was in proper working order. Let me give that its own line:
Well Regulated = Proper Working Order
Does that change the meaning of the Second Amendment for you? It should — A properly functioning militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
And, one need not look any further than the reason behind the Revolution. We went to war with England because they attempted to take our guns and powder away. Why in God’s name would the founding fathers put “rules” on guns when guns and gunpowder was the straw that broke the founding fathers’ back to start a war?
But wait, there’s more!!!
Because it was understood that the militia was an unorganized thing made up of the people, the Second Amendment doesn’t just apply to the National Guard as many falsely assume — but the People of the United States of America in its entirety.
All you gotta do is keep reading. It really is all right there. A well regulated militia is meant to be a well oiled machine, not a group of people subjected to rules. Why? Because it’s necessary to the security of a free frigging state.
And, the point about “military style rifles” can also be dismissed by yours truly, once you come to the realiziation that General Washington and all of the militia owned “military style rifles” of the time. To suggest that we own only revolvers and shotguns is out of line with the Second Amendment entirely, because how can we keep a free State with insufficient arms?
The fact that we’re armed to the teeth means a lot. It means that foreign countries think twice before invading us. It means that a tyrannical government would think twice. And, it also creates a friendly civilization. When criminals don’t know who has a gun on them, they’re less likely to commit a crime against an individual.
So again I say, it never meant rules. Not until recently, that is. And, you have to wonder at what point the meaning changed, as well as why exactly it changed?
The truth of the matter is that if “well regulated” means what modern day people say it means, the Second Amendment is nothing but a huge contradiction of itself. How can something be subject to rules and not be infringed all at once?
It can’t, which is supported by the views of the founding fathers and their interpretation of the term “well regulated” as well as all the other documents they put other there regarding guns.
Today, if you were to search for the term, you’d be presented with a host of different meanings, to include those from anti-gun-leaning websites, as well as historical, factually correct websites.
So, to summarize, a well regulated militia means nothing more than being a prepared and ready people. Prepared and ready for what? Anything that may come.
So, as I’ve said in numerous articles on guns (I’ve written thousands of articles on the topic, by the way), you ain’t getting our guns. Ya know, unless you want them bullets first.
Here are some supporting founding father quotes so nothing I say here can be misconstrued, as well as where these quotes were originally poised for your consideration and own research:
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. – Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787
A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined… – George Washington, First Annual Address, to both Houses of Congress, January 8, 1790
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country. – James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops -Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…. The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun. – Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778
What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty …. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. – Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, I Annals of Congress 750, August 17, 1789
The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. – Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776
As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms. – Tench Coxe, Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789
The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them – Tench Coxe, An American Citizen IV, October 21, 1789
Arms in the hands of citizens (may) be used at individual discretion…in private self-defense… -John Adams, 1788 A Defense of the Constitution of the Government of the USA, p.471
A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves . . . and include all men capable of bearing arms. . . To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms… The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle.- Richard Henry Lee
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.. (where) ..the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. – James Madison (Federalist Papers #46)
…but a million armed freemen, possessed of the means of war, can never be conquered by a foreign foe. – Andrew Jackson in his first Inaugural Address, 1829
The burden of the militia duty lies equally upon all persons; – Rep. Williamson in Congress, 22 Dec 1790 (Elliot, p423)