What does the Second Amendment Really Say?
In any debate over gun rights, a command of the English language is much more useful I think than a degree in political science or history. For example, pro-gun control advocates, if they are honest, cannot argue with the rules of grammar although they will try. The Second Amendment reads, “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.” The word State does not refer to the larger American nation but to the individual states which created the union.
The first thirteen words of the Second Amendment form a dependent clause, that is a clause that cannot stand alone. While adding information to the sentence, making it more interesting to read, it is not a complete thought and by itself does not constitute a sentence because it lacks a subject and a verb, both of which are required even if the subject is assumed as in the command “Go!”
A dependent clause being unnecessary to the sense of a sentence, to its completeness, it can be deleted, and if we delete the introductory dependent clause from the Second Amendment, we are left with the complete sentence: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms (complete subject) shall not be infringed (verb).”
Reducing this most hotly-debated amendment down to “bare bones,” it does not say that the president, the U.S. Congress or the Supreme Court, because an evil man in Connecticut committed an unspeakable act, may now infringe even a little, even with “common sense” measures or rulings from the bench, on this precious right of the people who reside in the several states. Federal usurpers of the power that is constitutionally reserved to these states are fond of using those first thirteen words of the Second Amendment to justify regulating arms. But the Bill of Rights expressly protects the states from all three branches of the federal government, a government, as we have seen in recent times, that is inclined to grow ever more tyrannical improperly applying the Fourteenth Amendment or using the excuse that something must be done “for the children.” President Obama and the Congress have no authority to force extra-constitutional gun “safety” legislation on the states. SCOTUS has no right to rule on state laws regarding guns. State governments may deal with the regulation of militia, the regulation of guns, if their citizens allow these governments to do so.
Many of us oppose the gun grab in Maryland, and we are fighting it tooth and nail. But this fight is taking place as it should-- at the state level (and all the shouting might be over by the time this letter is published). If those of us who love liberty in Maryland should lose this battle as we did the one over “marriage equality,” we can shrug our shoulders and give up, continue to fight or vote with our feet...the latter more and more the remedy Marylanders are seeking as carpetbaggers continue to ruin our once free state. On the other hand, because the “red” counties in Maryland outnumber the “blue,” another option might be secession or, more correctly, partition from Montgomery County and the other urban areas now holding conservative, freedom-loving Maryland hostage. It's worth thinking about at least.