Letters to the Editor

The real Second Amendment

A number of historians have recently convincingly argued against the oft-heard opinion that the purpose of the Second Amendment to the Constitution was to enable American citizens to thwart a potentially tyrannical federal government. The intent of the Framers of the Constitution, based on the historical context of the times, was undoubtedly the opposite.

A more rational interpretation of their reason for guaranteeing that "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" was to assure that the nascent federal government (a democratically constituted "free state"), which did not have a standing army at the time, could draw on its citizenry in the form of "a well regulated militia" to suppress armed uprisings by fringe groups opposed to federal authority.

An even less ambiguous part of the Constitution is Article III, Section 3, which defines levying war against the United States as treason, which ever since has been interpreted by the U.S. courts as including armed opposition to the enforcement of a federal law. — Ted Gibbs, Ashland


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