teripie wrote:Cape's got a point there. "A well regulated militia" hardly implies every Tom, Dick, and Harry can grab a gun and hit the streets. It's an old argument. It's all semantics.
In my reading, the first section ("A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,") is only explanatory material for the instruction in the second ("the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.")
The commas don't work no matter how you slice it (at least not by today's rules of usage), but I think that's the only way it can be split up and still be coherent.
Also, traditionally in important documents, they state the reasons for the decision (usually in the form of ten lines that all begin with "whereas"). They don't carry any weight beyond letting the reader know the intent behind the rule. e.g:
The Clerk of Geekytown wrote:Whereas, Joe Schmoe was a really cool guy,
and Whereas, Joe Schmoe deserves to have something really cool named after him,
Geekytown shall henceforth be named "Schmoeville".
No matter how un-cool the new Schmoeville is, it won't get its name automatically changed back to Geekytown.
It's the same thing in this case. The second amendment effectively says "We won't infringe on your right to keep and bear arms. We're doing this because we think a well-regulated militia is important
." The part in italics serves to explain the first sentence, not modify or limit it.
In my mind, the second amendment is fairly clear, and LibraLabRat's likely right: many US gun laws are probably unconstitutional.
A top-down approach, however, wouldn't encounter the same roadblocks. If your aim is to get rid of the guns that are most likely to be used in a crime, I think the most effective gun control would start with looking at the gun manufacturers and the channels that exist to get the guns to criminals.
Now personally, I believe that firearms should
be regulated. I consider myself a pacifist (albiet an untested one - I've never been in a "kill or be killed" situation) and I find the idea of taking any human life, even the life of a criminal, abhorrent. I think that completely eliminating firearms from a society, except for those with a real need for them, would do more good than harm.
But I acknowledge that most of the rest of the world probably does not share my views, and I acknowledge that my personal position on gun control runs counter to the second amendment.