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posted: 2/7/2013 5:00 AM

View 2nd Amendment in its entirety

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It's good to see young people taking part in a forum like Fence Post. Recently, eighth-grader Prakash Nigam provided his opinion on the Second amendment as it relates to assault weapons. His argument was impressive. However, he misquoted the amendment. The Second Amendment is a 27-word sentence, not just the 14 words young Mr. Nigam quoted. Since the Supreme Court has virtually ignored the first 13 words in their decisions, everyone appears to ignore them as well.

The Founding Fathers, who wrote the Constitution, valued brevity. That's why it's only 4,440 words written on four pages. It is the shortest and oldest Constitution of any country on earth. My point is that words were not wasted. And that also goes for the Second amendment. They wouldn't have written 27 words if they meant for us to observe only half of them. The entire amendment reads, "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."

If we are going to interpret the entire sentence, then it appears they were saying that if regular folks like you and me were members of a well regulated militia, we'd have the right to bear arms. Regulated militias like our local police forces, the state police, the national guard, the military services and government law enforcement agencies, for example. (Personally, I think they were thinking of the militia of common folk called the Minutemen when they wrote it.) It's a shame they didn't foresee how twisted the interpretation would become. If they had, perhaps the Second amendment would read, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, provided they belong to a well regulated militia."

Len Brauer


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