It’s absolutely long past time to repeal the Second Amendment. The day a “well regulated militia” was no longer necessary — or even remotely relevant — to the security of a free state, and that was the only intended purpose of the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment was no longer necessary or relevant. And for either side to look for clues in the Amendment to cite against the other side is anachronistic fatuity. Now that real change is a possibility, we have to understand what the Second Amendment is so we can get rid of it — not because it’s abhorrent, but because it’s useless.
As oxymoronic as a “well regulated militia” sounds, gun control advocates often seize on the phrase “well regulated” to support the regulating of gun ownership. The phrase has nothing to do with regulating anything. “Regulated,” here, means trained and organized, as in the British Regulars or the regular Continental Army, as opposed to militia members. There were countless militias that came to assist Washington’s Continental Army, from talented groups of Riflemen who were invaluable, to “well regulated” groups under the command of men who had served as officers in the French & Indian war, to assorted bunches of untrained and inexperienced men who scattered at the first sight of enemy forces. What the Second Amendment is saying is that well-trained, organized and disciplined militia, and not random groups or numbers of useless imbeciles who run away or can’t hit the side of a barn, is necessary to keep the United States secure from being taken over by the British or anyone else.
As much this country could do with stronger gun laws, we cannot point to the word “regulated” in the Second Amendment and pretend it has anything to do with regulations in the sense in which we use the word now, which is rules, laws, controls, etc.
This isn’t esoteric information. Every historian knows the meaning of the Second Amendment. You can easily look up the Second Amendment on Wikipedia and see this absolutely unquestionable info:
Meaning of “well regulated militia”
The term “regulated” means “disciplined” or “trained”. In Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that “[t]he adjective ‘well-regulated’ implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training.”
In Federalist No. 29, Alexander Hamilton suggested that well-regulated refers not only to “organizing”, “disciplining”, and “training” the militia, but also to “arming” the militia:
This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union “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.”
Likewise, the notion that the Second Amendment has anything whatsoever to do with preventing tyranny of an overzealous government, gun hobbyists, home defense, hunting, regulations on the ownership or registration of guns, determinations on the types of guns that may be owned, or anything else is simply an invention of people with agendas running the spectrum from anti-gun to pro-gun.
As I pointed out above, when the Constitution was written, the Fathers were talking about the Minutemen and all the state and civilian militias who joined the vastly out-manned and out-gunned Continental Army to fight the British. The whole Second Amendment is in there solely because, at the time, the U.S. government/army needed those militias to team up with them to have any hope of ensuring the security of the state against the various European powers. It was designed to supplement the government, not to overthrow it.
The Second Amendment was to ensure that we have organized and trained citizen militia units to supplement an inadequate army. It is completely inapplicable and pointless in this day and age and of no use in arguments on gun control. Our regular army is far from inadequate now, so the Second Amendment can finally be scrapped.
Mike Amato is an actor, writer, comedian and playwright. As a comedian, he’s preformed in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Montreal Comedy Festival as well as in comedy clubs all across the country. His prose work can be seen in Smokelong Quarterly, Word Riot and the print journal Etchings.