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Cryo Chamber

Parsing The Second Amendment

It’s been about a month since the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision in McDonald vs. Chicago, a successful challenge to the city’s handgun ban. It was decided on the basis that the 14th Amendment extends the prohibitions of the Bill of Rights to state governments, and thus the Second Amendment applies.  So let’s look at the Second Amendment: “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.”  One gun-hater argument is that this does not guarantee an individual right “to keep and bear Arms,” but is some sort of group right that applies only to members of state militias.  But “people” clearly means individuals in the Fourth Amendment, which stars with “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . . .”  Further, it’s pretty clear that the Founders supported private ownership of weapons, not just of muskets, but of entire ships laden with cannons.  That’s because the Constitution gives Congress exclusive power to “grant Letters of Marque” — that is, authorization for a private party to engage in piracy on the high seas against the nation’s enemies.-[source]

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