To the Editor:
In her letter to the editor on May 4, Monique Weston begins by quoting the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. She then proceeds to insist that the word “regulated” somehow has nothing to do with the training of the militia, but instead she invokes the power of the courts and argues that it has to do with government management of the militia. Regardless of what the courts may say, and even though they may have the authority to say so, this cannot be the correct interpretation, else the second half of the amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” would not be the logical conclusion. Instead, the logical conclusion would be something like “the right of the government to keep an armed force for deployment in times of emergency, shall not be infringed.” No, the word “regulated” cannot refer to government management of the militia, and the word “militia” cannot refer to today’s State Militia simply on the basis that it is the same word, or that some prior ruling has been cited. If the Second Amendment is to be considered as a whole, the militia is meant to be comprised of the people and be managed by the people, without government interference. Although the courts have the authority to interpret the law, they are not by virtue of their position always right. They as individuals are swayed by their personal convictions and are as likely to err as any of the rest of us.
After further consideration, however, I will agree with Ms. Weston that the word “trained” is not a proper substitute for the word “regulated.” Training is only part of being “well regulated.” An individual may be well trained in the use of his firearm, and many well-trained individuals may come together as militia with intent to maintain or regain the security of their free state. But they need to be organized. They need to be drilled and disciplined. They need to learn how to function as a cohesive unit. In short they need effective leadership. It is both training and leadership that enables the militia to be characterized as “well regulated”.
The Second Amendment is only one of ten that are known as the Bill of Rights. Each of these amendments speaks to the empowerment and protection of the people from the government, and to the limitation of the government’s power and authority over the people. It is ludicrous to insist that the Second Amendment is somehow different, that it is intended to subject the people to additional government “regulation.” The Second Amendment is only “maddeningly ambiguous” to those who refuse to accept the possibility that it means exactly what it says, as it is written in plain English. Nevertheless, we are bound to abide by the courts’ decisions, that is, until they lose sight of the meaning of “shall not be infringed.” The people may one day decide when this has happened. This is not a threat. It is a sad prediction, based on the historical events that led to the creation of this nation. I hope I am wrong but I see an ember smoldering. The courts would be wise not to fan it into flame.
Don Mauer, Piercefield