I originally voted changing the constitution but then realized that when I read the 2nd amendment it seems perfectly reasonable.
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.
Fixed (you missed a few very important commas).
vanarbulax wrote:The amendment states that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed on the people if necessary for a well regulated militia. Which I agree is fair enough, if someone had a gun for the purpose of use when their country need to call upon citizens in defense of the
country, then they shouldn't be able to be arrested for carrying one.
First, there does exist in America "well regulated militias", they are the National Guard which are under the command of the States (unless called upon for national duty in which case they take orders from the President).
It seems unlikely that the 2nd Amendment is intended to be applied to the carrying of issued arms by sworn soldiers, whether in times of war or peace. What government would include in it's Bill of Rights the right of soldiers to be armed, wouldn't such be assumed by the government to be a legitimate and necessary need, and what government would arrest
it's soldiers for such?
There are three rational options then, does the 2A mean that States have the right to maintain armed groups of citizen soldiers under local control, does it mean that the individual has the right to keep arms, or both? I personally feel that, having studied the issue more since my last comment, that both is the best answer.
It does not refer to "the States" but to "a State", this seems to imply that it is not specifically talking about the States of the Union but instead to any given State be they in America, Europe, or elsewhere, and is explaining why it is that a free State would require a militia. This gives the States legal basis for maintaining their own military forces. However, these States also have the right to subdivide this authority to the local communities, and such practices were quite common for many years with many major cities and towns maintaining their own State authorized militia forces made up of local people.
However, the sentence then mentions "the right of the People". Who are the people that it is talking about? In every single instance of the Bill of Rights "the People" is always interpreted as the individual. For example, the First Amendment does not mean that the people by means of the State have freedom of speech, it means that the individual has that right. The whole point of arming the people, as NeoThermic pointed out, is so that the people have the effective means of opposing and overthrowing a tyrannical government if and when that government fails to meet it's obligations of the social contract (in this case the Constitution) and all reasonable means of redress have been exhausted. With such in mind, it cannot mean that only the government should have the right to bear arms, but instead (and even a casual reading of the writings of the founders confirms this) that the people must have the right to maintain their own arms.
vanarbulax wrote:Okay, I can definitely see the that interpretation. But what is the likely hood of America becoming a "non-free" country. While I agree America is losing lots of it's civil liberties by the government in the name of the war on terror I don't see and honestly can't imagine the people forming a militia to overthrow the government. The size of America's army is so big that ordinary civilians aren't going to be able to fight considering most people don't have military training. Honestly if the American government became a complete dictatorship then nobody really has a hope of stopping them, save all out civil war which would absolutely devastate the country. I think I still have enough faith left in the American people that if things do get that bad the will get of their arse and protest, strike, impeach the government. The government was designed for total control not to happen that's why there are three branches to keep each other in check. I personally don't believe that the amount of gun-crime in America is worth the chance that the government might make a ironfisted military dictatorship in which case I can't see the newly formed dictatorship allowing a people's militia to arise.
Well, our Revolution was fought against the most powerful military force on earth (did you know that in the first year of fighting the British had more cannon on one ship of the line then we had in our entire military?) by locals with very little formal military training. Certainly we had some outside help, but the people fought on their own with their own arms for several years to buy the time needed to get such help. As for forming militias to overthrow the current government, it happens, ever hear of the Oklahoma City bombing or the Freemen militia?
As for actually stopping it should it ever get out of hand, we very well might not. Our system is designed to resist such an event, but that doesn't mean that such cannot or will not one day happen. Were such an event to happen I would rather see the country devastated by Civil War in resisting such then, even if we lose, then to sit idle while our government and way of life is stripped away. Our country still has far to go until such would be required, you all act like the current state of things is unique to our history but things like the Patriot Act happen about every 50 or so years in our country, they have their heyday of a few years, then go away (the Alien and Sedition act, Lincolns suspending of Habeus Corpus, arresting anti-war protesters during WW1, etc).
As for "allowing" a people's militia to arise, they wouldn't. That's why the individuals right to keep and bear arms is so important, so that if such an occasion arises they don't have to ask permission to fight back, but instead have the means at their disposal.