We all know that the 2nd Amendment wasn’t at all clumsily written. In fact, it states quite unequivocally that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. You can’t get much clearer than that.
Morgan was at the National Press Club plugging his own book, entitled Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God and George Clooney. During his spiel, he argued for a “rephrasing” of the 2nd Amendment:
“That to me shows you how clumsily worded, and I say that with great respect for the Founding Fathers, the Second Amendment was… The comma in the middle is perhaps the most dangerous comma ever written because it can be interpreted in different ways.”
The “comma in the middle” separates the phrase “being necessary to the security of a free State.”
Piers added that as “very right-wing people took over,” they redefined the 2nd Amendment to mean a guarantee of an individual right rather than of the collective right of a well-regulated militia:
“They redefined it as an individual’s right to bear arms, no longer as part of a well-regulated militia… When you’ve got so many amendments anyway, you say it’s a sacred document, it’s fine but it’s a bit like saying the Bible is a sacred document. And I speak as a good Irish Catholic… I think you just have to look at it not so much as a sacred document but as an evolutionary document, hence the amendments that have already taken place. I think there is quite the argument to have a debate … a debate on whether the wording of the Second Amendment should be rephrased.”
It doesn’t need to be rephrased. It’s fine the way it is. It just needs to be understood the way the Founding Fathers understood it. It needs the proper historical context.
If you read the great political theorists and thinkers of the time, including the Founding Fathers, you’ll find that there is very little room (none, actually) for debate as to what was meant by “well regulated,” “Militia,” and “free State.”
Today, we might think of “well regulated” to mean subject to government regulations, controls, restrictions, inspections, etc. But that isn’t at all what was meant over two centuries ago. It simply meant well-trained. Self-regulated. Disciplined.
The Militia referred to anyone capable of serving in a “well regulated Militia.” In other words, anyone. The people. And it was this group of people who would be well-trained in the use of weapons and military tactics that would serve as the check on the government’s standing army. It didn’t even necessarily refer to defending one’s country from a foreign, invading enemy. That’s what the national military was for, and I’m sure the militia would gladly join in in that event. But the militia was that group of people who would band together and defend their liberties from a tyrannical government.
The “free State” didn’t refer to the individual states of the union, and it didn’t refer to the federal government either. It meant “free country.” Free from despotic rule.
So, to preserve a free country, well-trained and self-regulated militias, composed of law-abiding and capable individuals, should serve as the check and balance on a government that’s bent toward tyranny. Oh, and that right of the people shall not be infringed.
In order for this militia to be able to adequately defend liberty, it needs to possess at least the caliber of weaponry used by the government attempting to oppress its citizenry. The better weapons we have, the nicer our government becomes to us.
“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.”
I don’t think that Piers’s objection is that the Amendment wasn’t written clearly enough. It’s that it wasn’t written to his specifications. He doesn’t like it. If he were given the opportunity to “rephrase” the 2nd Amendment, I’m sure he’d amend it to include exceptions for semi-automatic weapons and magazines with more than a 10-round capacity. And he’d state in no uncertain terms that every gun buyer is to have a background check and mental health screening to make sure that no [legal] guns end up in the wrong hands. And no gun shows allowed. And no gun transfers without the government knowing about it. Actually, he’d probably find it a lot easier to just scrap the entire Amendment.