“… 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.”
Those first four words, “A well regulated Militia” (a militia is part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency, a body of citizens organized for military service) are followed by two parenthetical phrases (a parenthetical phrase is an adjective that explains or qualifies something) set off by commas. Therefore, the meaning, with or without the qualifying second and third phrases, is that “A well regulated Militia … shall not be infringed.” It states only that a militia has the right to bear arms in order for the people to be free. There is no “if,” “and” or “but” included to guarantee an individual the right to bear arms.
This, therefore, is the only logical meaning of the Second Amendment as it was written.
Helen KeitzMathews, Va.
To view the rest of this article, you must log in. If you do not have an account with us, please subscribe here.