Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Times, Wrong Again

This from yesterday's editorial page on The Court and The Second Amendment. What really got me was this little passage.

A lot has changed since the nation’s founding, when people kept muskets to be ready for militia service. What has not changed is the actual language of the Constitution. To get past the first limiting clauses of the Second Amendment to find an unalienable individual right to bear arms seems to require creative editing.

The exact meaning of the Second Amendment is such a hotly contested issue because there is no overwhelming evidence one way or another as to whether or not the amendment refers to an individual right or the collective right of a militia. As someone who spent an entire law school semester studying the original meaning of the Bill of Rights, pouring through hundreds of pages of original documents, I can assure the New York Times that when it comes to the Second Amendment there is very little evidence that speaks directly to the issue and strong arguments that can be made for both sides. It's all fine and dandy to make your opinion, but it's just dishonest to indicate that the opposing point of view requires some sort of made up theory of Constitutional interpretation.

And just to throw in my two sense, it seems clear to me from many documents from the era of the founders that the right to gun ownership was considered an individual right- where it wasn't mentioned specifically seems to be more of a case of overlooking the obvious. Beyond that, even if you were to read the language as referring only to the right of a well organized militia to bear arms, the sort of militia referred to in the Bill of Rights most definitely would not apply only to the Armed Forces and National Guard of today. Militias in the 1700's were organized on purely local levels and their power or ability to organize did not flow from any sort of privilege granted by government- Put simply, even with the militia language, I can't imagine how that language could be constructed so as not to include the private wacko, anti-government sort of militias that are around today- and in which case it'd be hard to see how that group right couldn't be held by the individuals of that group.


Post a Comment

<< Home