Another Progressive Call To Reinterpret the 2nd Amendment

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Another Progressive Call To Reinterpret the 2nd Amendment, The 2nd Amendment Issues

Here is another Progressive calling for a “re-interpretation” of the 2nd amendment quoting a Progressive who does not know the difference between the militia mentioned in the Bill of Rights (as understood by the Founders) and the militia mentioned in the Constitution. But of course, once again, Progressives do not let such silly things get in the way of their supposed scholarship. The author of this article refers to Akhil Reed Amar. I had to read this author’s book for my Masters. What these supposed scholars refuse to accept is what the Founding fathers believed. If each generation “reinterpreted” the Constitution it must mean that there exists a the proper interpretation and that lies with the Founding fathers which almost no Progressive will quote.
The Second Amendment needs to be reinterpreted
Mike Trujillo / Daily Titan
Mike Trujillo / Daily Titan
The cries for support of gun control are growing even louder after last week’s events at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation yesterday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the shooting at Los Angeles International Airport underscored the importance of an assault weapon ban, in addition to other restrictive measures.

Feinstein was referring, of course, to 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, who is being charged with murder and commission of violence at an international airport after killing one and wounding three on Friday.

Ciancia could face the death penalty after killing a federal officer, TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez.

With the shooting at the Washington Naval Yard occurring just two months ago, this incident could and should force Congress to make a renewed effort towards strengthening the country’s gun control laws.

My colleague, Elliot Lam, argued for the need to improve the background check system in place to ensure the buyers of deadly weapons have nothing in their record that would raise any red flags.

I, however, call for something else.

One of the biggest controversies surrounding gun rights lies in the Bill of Rights, more specifically the Second Amendment.

The Second 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.”

Though the amendment explicitly references the right to bear arms, it does so within the context of a well regulated militia.

This compound interpretation was echoed by the courts for most of the 20th century after the Supreme Court ruled in the United States v. Miller that the Second Amendment only protected the use of weapons when used in an organized militia.

Still, the word ‘militia’ as it is written in the Second Amendment gets tricky when we look at it in modern times. Richard Beeman, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, explained that may seem a strange concept to us today, but that was the way American armies were organized in the 18th century. Beeman said that the Bill of Rights never listed the right to carry AK-47s.

Many also forget the historical context in which the Second Amendment was written. Gloria Browne-Marshall, professor of constitutional law at John Jay College, said the gun rights amendment was written as a way for American colonists to empower themselves in an attempt to defeat the preeminent superpower of the time.

Barry Friedman, professor of law at NYU, believes the Second Amendment’s existence after the American Revolution was a way for states to be able to protect themselves against the federal government.

Akhil Reed Amar, professor of political science and law at Yale University, said that the Second Amendment was reconceptualized after the Civil War from a state right to an individual right. Amar questioned whether the Civil War construction makes sense today.

Evidence thus far suggests that the rights enshrined in the Second Amendment have changed over time. In the same way that it made sense to interpret the Second Amendment as a mechanism to protect states’ rights after the revolutionary war, it would be equally befitting to reexamine the way we interpret the Second Amendment to protect innocent bystanders in the aftermath of mass shootings today.

In each generation that the Second Amendment was reinterpreted, it was done in a manner that consistently empowered citizens to meet the challenges of the time. If we continue to use a 19th century interpretation of the Second Amendment in a 21st century world, the very amendment that had empowered us two centuries earlier will have the opposite effect of incapacitating us.


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