The Second Amendment and the 21st Century

To the Editor:

The other day I reread the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State …” Those words are the opening clause. I wondered why the word Militia was/is capitalized. What was meant by the words “well regulated?” What is the significance of the word “necessary?” What did the writers mean by “the security of a free State…?”

When I see a bumper sticker or window decal purporting to support the Second Amendment I wonder if the owner knows the first clause. Does he/she support the entire amendment or merely the second part “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

Why has Congress never set up a “well regulated Militia”? If it was deemed “necessary” in 1791 why is it not still necessary? What “Arms” were citizens given the right to keep and bear? How could they have envisioned AK-47s and AR-15s that people currently have the right to keep and bear?

What would the constitutional framers say to those who have been murdered with rapid-fire weapons? To their parents who grieve? To relatives and friends? To you and me? Where would they see a line separating “the security of a free State” and the need for individual security to go to school or feel safe in a house of worship? Would they suggest we merely throw up our hands and claim there’s nothing we can do/we must protect the right to own any weapon?

Is it not high time we look at the Second Amendment and use the provision for a “well regulated Militia” to work for the security of all Americans? At the moment we seem hell bent on guaranteeing some the right to “keep and bear Arms” when that right clearly endangers others. Are we helpless? Let’s make the Second Amendment work in the 21st Century!

No, I am not suggesting that we confiscate people’s guns. I own five. None are rapid-fire. Yet, we could use the amendment itself to work for the security of all. We need a “well regulated Militia” in this century.

Dave Waldrop, Webster