In Part One, The Right to Bear Arms, I discussed and quoted those that wrote the Constitution and those who lived during the time of its inception and ratification by the states of the Union.
I will begin this final part with the words from an expert on American usage, Roy Copperud, 17-year teacher of journalism, a newspaper writer and column writer for Editor and Publisher and was part of the panel of the American Heritage Dictionary and Merriam Webster Usage Dictionary that cites him as an expert.
Professor Copperud is also an author of five books, the fifth being American Usage and Style: The Consensus. He was interviewed by J. Neil Schulman in his article “The Unabridged Second Amendment.”
The interview was conducted through written correspondence in order to get an expert opinion of just what the Second Amendment was meant to mean and what it does mean.
Here is the printed interview:
Copperud: “The Words ‘ a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,’ contrary to the interpretation cited in your letter of July 26th 1991, constitutes a present participle, rather than a clause. It is used as an adjective. Modifying ‘militia’, this is followed by the main clause of the sentence (subject ‘the right,’ verb ‘shall’). The ‘to keep and bear arms’ is asserted as an essential for maintaining a militia.
Schulman: (1) Can the sentence be interpreted to grant the right to keep and bear arms solely to ‘a well-regulated militia?’
Copperud: (1) “The sentence does not restrict the right to keep and bear arms, nor does it state or imply possession of the right elsewhere or by others than the people; it simply makes a positive statement with respect to a right of the people.”
Schulman: (2) “Is ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms’ granted by the words of the Second Amendment, or does the Second Amendment assume a preexisting right of the people to keep and bear arms, and merely state that such right ‘shall not be infringed’?”
Copperud: (2) “The right is not granted by the amendment; its existence is assumed. The thrust of the sentence is that the right shall be preserved inviolate for the sake of ensuring a militia.”
Schulman: (3) “Is the right of the people to keep and bear arms conditioned upon whether or not a well regulated militia, is, in fact necessary to the security of a free State, and if that condition is not existing, is the statement ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’ null and void?”
Copperud: (3) “No such condition is expressed or implied. The right to keep and bear arms is not said by the amendment to depend on the existence of a militia. No condition is stated or implied as to the relation of the right to keep and bear arms and to the necessity of a well-regulated militia as a requisite to the security of a free state. The right to keep and bear arms is deemed unconditional by the entire sentence.”
Schulman: (4) “Does the clause ‘A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,’ grant a right to the government to place conditions on the ‘right of the people to keep and bear arms,’ or is such right deemed unconditional by the meaning of the entire sentence?”
Copperud: (4) “The right is assumed to exist and to be unconditional, as previously stated. It is invoked here specifically for the sake of the militia.”
Schulman: (5) “Which of the following does the phrase ‘well-regulated militia’ mean: ‘well-equipped’, ‘well-organized,’ ‘well-drilled,’ ‘well-educated,’ or ‘subject to regulations of a superior authority’?”
Copperud: (5) “The phrase means ‘subject to regulations of a superior authority;’ this accords with the desire of the writers for civilian control over the military.”
Schulman: (6) “(If at all possible, I would ask you to take account the changed meanings of words, or usage, since that sentence was written 200 years ago, but not take into account historical interpretations of the intents of the authors, unless those issues can be clearly separated.”
Copperud: “To the best of my knowledge, there has been no change in the meaning of words or in usage that would affect the meaning of the amendment. If it were written today, it might be put: “since a well-regulated militia is necessary tot he security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.’
Schulman: “As a ‘scientific control’ on this analysis, I would also appreciate it if you could compare your analysis of the text of the Second Amendment to the following sentence, “A well-schooled electorate, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and read Books, shall not be infringed.’ “My questions for the usage analysis of this sentence would be, “(1) Is the grammatical structure and usage of this sentence and the way the words modify each other, identical to the Second Amendment’s sentence?; and “(2) Could this sentence be interpreted to restrict ‘the right of the people to keep and read Books’ _only_ to ‘a well-educated electorate’ — for example, registered voters with a high-school diploma?”
Copperud: “(1) Your ‘scientific control’ sentence precisely parallels the amendment in grammatical structure. “(2) There is nothing in your sentence that either indicates or implies the possibility of a restricted interpretation.”
Professor Copperud had only one additional comment, which he placed in his cover letter:
With well-known human curiosity, I made some speculative efforts to decide how the material might be used, but was unable to reach any conclusion.
So now we have been told by one of the top experts on American usage what many knew all along: the Constitution of the United States unconditionally protects the people’s right to keep and bear arms, forbidding all governments formed under the Constitution from abridging that right. As if the rest of us didn’t already know. The Founding Fathers tried to keep the Constitution and its amendments in simple language. It was not a document for the lawyers and scholars with their complicated rhetoric, but a document for the people drafted by people chosen among them to create a nation where liberty and the freedom of the citizen were most important.
In the United States, elected legislators, judges, and appointed officials who are pledged to defend the Constitution of the United States ignore, misquote, and/or perverse the Second Amendment. American citizens are put in prison or jailed for carrying firearms, owning certain types of firearms, for defending their home, family or person, or failing to satisfy bureaucratic requirements concerning the owning and carrying of firearms – all of which is against the constitutional right of the people to keep and bear arms, which is a guarantee like the other amendments. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is supposed to be a defender of the Bill of Rights, but NEVER have they stepped forward on the issue of the Second Amendment. They are selective as to what they advocate for because they a operated by the Sociocrats of America. It is an effective tool for the Democrat political party of America and extreme Left entities to intimidate its way to getting their way.
New Gun Week and Second Amendment Foundation; J. Neil Schulman has founded the Committee to Enforce the Second Amendment (CESA) and is the founder and president of SoftServ Publishing and the first publishing company to distribute “paperless books” via personal computers and modems. He was the writer of the CBS “Twilight Zone” episode in which a time-traveling historian prevents the JFK assassination.
Can States of the Union disregard the Second Amendment?
Forty-four states have constitutional guarantees on the right to keep and bear arms. Wisconsin was the 44th state (November 1998) to add a constitutional provision that reads:
The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or any other lawful purpose. [Art. 1, § 25]
Since 1970, 15 states enacted their own state constitutional rights to keep and bear arms for the first time, or strengthened the ones that already existed.
Since there are fewer states without specific constitutional provisions, they will be listed here instead of the 44 states that does:
California, Iowa, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota, New York. Notice that in the states mentioned the Democrat political party is a greater majority.
California’s idea of a right to bear arms clause is:
The State of California is an inseparable part of the United States of America, and the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
This statement brings to mind a question that has been unanswered no matter how many letters or electronic correspondence to members of Congress I send – How can any state of the Union who ratified the Second Amendment not uphold that guarantee to the people of the United States no matter which state they reside?
First of all, a constitutional right cannot be voided just because some people disagree with it or that, in the case of the Second Amendment, firearms are disagreeable and there are people who do not like firearms.
Whereas a state can make a regulation concerning certain uses, certain places or certain circumstances a firearm may be used. For example, requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon can also have a law added that a background check must be obtained prior to the permit being issued and that the applicant cannot be a felon (a felon, for example loses the privilege of voting) or a history of mental disorders. The state may also add that the applicant must attend a firearm safety course in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Also there may be a clause for those carrying a concealed weapons (like was the case when I had a permit to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Georgia) where firearms were not allowed in places of public gathering, such as a football stadium or it is unlawful to carry a firearm into a government building. In Georgia one was required to leave any weapons or items like pocket knives in their vehicle before entering a federal, state or local court building. The reasons are obvious and it is unnecessary to be armed in those places. However, no state of the union, because the Second Amendment was ratified by the states of the union, can be changed and must abide by the U.S. Constitution. The states insist on stipulations, but cannot prevent the liberties and freedom guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
Concealed carry laws may consist of a license fee, safety training requirement or exam, fingerprinting, and a clean record with no history of mental illness.
In 1987, when Florida enacted concealed carry weapons permits and the laws that pertained to it people warned that the “Sunshine State” would become the “Gunshine State.” But statistics proved them wrong because homicide rates dropped faster than the national average, and from 1987 to 1997 only one permit holder out of the 350,000 permits issued was convicted of a homicide. There were only four instances of firearm crime that did not involve homicide. [Source: Firearms and Their Control, Gary Fleck, Walter de Gruyter, NY, 1997, p. 370]. If all states of the Union would allow their citizens to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment, America would have the lowest homicide rate in the world. There are 35 states that have enacted a “shall-issue” concealed carry law and two states, Alaska and Vermont, do not require any permit at all.
Wisconsin’s state assembly passed a concealed weapon “shall issue” law, but Governor Doyle vetoed it and when the state assembly proceeded to vote to override that veto, they didn’t get enough votes because of one vote – a Democrat who changed his mind at the last minute. He failed to get reelected and Wisconsin as of this date overrides the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States by telling Wisconsin citizens they cannot protect themselves. Majority of the voters reelected Jim Doyle despite this and other issues and grievances, including his tax and spend policies along with his associates in the state legislature.
Anyone in the United States should be able to use a firearm in self defense – whether in their vehicle, home, walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant.
If anyone must use the firearm to protect their life, their family’s safety or property; after an investigation finding that a firearm was used in self defense and/or protection of private property there should be no penalty or punishment. This should especially be true of a person attempting to or committing an act of rape. I firmly believe that anyone entering a person’s home immediately loses all rights and is subject to be captured or killed by the resident of that home. If we had such attitudes toward criminals who break and enter into a private establishment, there would certainly be less court cases on the books concerning a criminal suing for damages against a homeowner who shot him for breaking and entering. Unfortunately the courts do not protect the Second Amendment like the others in the Bill of Rights. In this, there must be a change in the judiciary system and all judges and justices must abide by constitutional law and no state should make any law that takes away any freedom or liberty provided by the Bill of Rights. By not allowing citizens, with or without a permit, to carry a weapon except in certain places as aforementioned and certain citizens who shouldn’t be allowed to be in possession of a firearm. Making laws that a person must be a certain age is not against the Second Amendment or making a law stating that underage citizens must be accompanied by an adult when using a firearm for practice or hunting. It all comes down to common sense. Leaving the safety of life and limb of citizens to police protection alone is not good sense. This is no reflection on the abilities of the police officer, it is just that they cannot be everywhere at once, and when they do show up the violent crime has already been committed in most cases.
State courts do not provide a test to determine if a law is an unconstitutional infringement like in the case of the Second Amendment. In Kansas and Massachusetts the guarantee of the Second Amendment, the law of the land, has been totally repealed. So why hasn’t the Supreme Court addressed this? And this does not just apply to state laws; it also applies to country and local government. An owner of a restaurant or bar [in most cases of concealed carry permits, firearms are restricted from being carried in places that serve alcohol, and for obvious reasons]. Whereas, if any one or two people were carrying firearms when in those circumstances where a person entered a church and randomly shot and killed and wounded several members, and if one or more of them were carrying a firearm and used it in self defense, the death toll and wounded would have not been not as severe, or may have been prevented entirely. Relying on the state for protection is an illusion and most citizens cannot afford to hire a body guard like some anti-gun activists who are celebrities do. Gun owners should not be scapegoats for the problems of society.
It is time to stop the state courts from changing the Second Amendment to read anything else than what it is. The 14th Amendment was intended to extend the rights enunciated to all persons and to prevent such rights from being infringed upon by the states. Legislation banning – federal, state or local – or restricting the possession and sale of semi-automatic firearms is unconstitutional. These weapons have been dubbed “assault rifles” and the legislators that use this term are misinformed.
According to military definition:
Assault rifles are short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges. Assault rifles have mild recoil characteristics and, because of this, are capable of delivering effective full automatic fire at ranges up to 300 meters.
Gun control laws have five major political functions: (1) increase reliance on government, which leads to tolerance of police power and abuse; (2) repressive actions by the government; (3) less pressure for serious government reform; (4) prevent opposition to the government; (5) allow enforcement against dissidents.
John Lott and David Mustard with the University of Chicago Law School examined crime statistics from 1977 to 1992 for all counties in the United States and concluded that all the states allowing their residents to carry concealed weapons (firearms, knives, and “pocket” mace) had significant reductions in violent crime. Murders were reduced by 8.5%, rapes were reduced by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robbery by 3%. And the violent crime rate was considerably less than states like Massachusetts that have the strictest gun control laws in America. How odd that is coming from a state that was once the one of the original 13 colonies that fought the British under King George for their rights, freedoms and liberties. [Source: More Guns, Less Violent Crime, Professor John R. Lott, The Wall Street Journal, August 28th 1996. John Lott has had public outcry against his findings by Sociocrats of America, but has never been able to show his statistics was incorrect or his assumptions wrong that right-to-carry law states have lower violent crime rates.
Also read the discussion between John Lott and physics professor and author, Robert Ehrlich, who claims more guns simply means more guns.
John Lott also wrote a paper entitled: Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement – here is the conclusion:
The results of this paper support the hypothesis that concealed handgun or shall issue laws reduce the number of multiple victim public shootings. Attackers are deterred and the number of people injured or killed per attack is also reduced, thus for the first time providing evidence that the harm from crimes that still occur can be mitigated. The results are robust with respect to different specifications of the dependent variable, different specifications of the handgun law variable, and the inclusion of additional law variables (e.g., mandatory waiting periods and enhanced penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime). Not only does the passage of a “shall issue law” have a significant impact on multiple shootings but it is the only law related variable that appears to have a significant impact.
Some have presented questions like: Should permit holders be subject to the same training as police officers?
No. Permit holders should be knowledgeable and proficient with aspects of defensive gun use and the specific firearm they have decided to carry, but as Jeffrey Snyder says in Fighting Back; Crime, Self-Defense, and the Right to Carry a Handgun . . .
Permit holders need concern themselves with only one thing: protecting themselves from a sudden, violent assault that threatens life or grievous bodily injury. Rape, robbery, and attempted murder are not typically actions rife with ambiguity or subtlety, requiring special powers of observation, great book-learning, or a stint at the police academy to discern. When a man pulls a knife on a woman and says, ‘You’re coming with me,’ her judgment that a crime is being committed is not likely to be in error. Police, by contrast, do not carry arms solely for the purpose of defending themselves, but also for the purpose of enforcing the law. They deliberately inject themselves into potentially dangerous and violent situations, responding to calls for assistance, investigating crimes, intervening in domestic violence, and making arrests.
Once again, common sense prevails. The police have a wide array of duties and responsibilities than a civilian carrying a concealed weapon does, therefore their training must be more extensive, including knowledge of the law and the enactment thereof.
The servants of the state and, supposedly, the servants of the people have committed outrageous actions against liberty and freedom, yet they are exempt from gun laws designed to disarm the people.
Self defense is humanity’s oldest right and the U.S. Constitution has submitted it in writing. It would be nice if the world was like Gandhi pictured it could be (called a utopia) and nonviolent methods would always succeed, but it will always fail when confronted with the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot or Saddam Hussein. The Second Amendment guarantees that the state will not have a monopoly in regards to firearms.
The 14th Amendment states: …
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Carrying a firearm is not for everyone, and citizens also have the right not to carry or even own a firearm – just as citizens have the right of the Second Amendment. It is part of freedom of choice, a right that is as natural and basic as private property rights. Right to provide self defense and property rights are in danger of being taken away in today’s America.
Facts and Myths
Fact – The majority of gun owners are not criminals and their guns create no social problems.
Myth – Banning semi-automatic weapons reduces crime.
Myth – More guns equals more crime.
Fact – Criminals do not purchase firearms to be used in crimes from the local gun shop, they obtain them from the black market – guns that have either been stolen or smuggled into the country.
Recently, the medical profession has been involved in anti-gun programs and gun control. Some papers in the medical literature have written a homeowner’s gun is more likely “to kill” its owner or family member than “kill” a criminal, and therefore “the advisability of keeping firearms in the home for protection must be questioned.”
The quote comes from Dr. Arthur Kellermann and Dr. Don Reay in an article entitled: Protection or Peril? (New England Journal of Medicine, 1986; 314:1557-60). This paper has been used in many instances for the propaganda of the Left and the paper is cited as saying that a homeowner’s gun was 43 times more likely to kill a family member, friend, or acquaintance, that it was used to kill someone in self-defense. Although this paper was published in 1986, its findings continue to be cited in medical journals, government publications, and non-technical periodicals, and it has never been critically looked at. Yet the Left will criticize and try to find any discrepancies in the book that John Lott wrote.
Kellerman obtained his ratio in his paper from the following method: He tabulated gunshot deaths occurring in King County, Washington, from 1978 to 1983 and not nation wide. He did not tabulate the type of deaths that occurred with a firearm in the home. He did not figure in criminal homicide and delete this from his ratio, because the firearm used in some of these cases were brought in from outside the home by the criminal committing the murder. If one looks at the estimated violent deaths in the home not involving a firearm, 50 were criminal homicide and 347 were suicide. This also was not configured.
Dr. Kellermann, unlike Michael Bellesilles the college professor who not only wrongly quoted his sources, but actually made some up to make his point, was just sloppy in his work. An example of how preposterous his paper is:
More martial artists are probably murdered by non-gun methods than they “kill” in self-defense.
The sad part about Dr. Kellermann’s paper and “research” is that people actually believe it.
My son has lived with various firearms around the house and he has never touched them without my permission and supervision and in the history of my family who has some sort of firearms around the house there have been zero accidents with them. This is because firearm safety is stressed and children are taught that they can be dangerous if misused or safety procedures are not adhered to and never to be handled without adult supervision.
I rest my case.