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The meaning of the phrase “well-regulated” ….

December 6, 2015

in the 2nd amendment

The following are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, and bracket in time the writing of the 2nd amendment:

1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations.”

1714: “The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world.”

1812: “The equation of time … is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial.”

1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor.”

1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.”

1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city.”

The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.

Adding the phrase, “shall not be infringed” reinforced the law.

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.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that held the amendment protects an individual right to possess and carry firearms.

In McDonald v. Chicago (2010), the Court clarified its earlier decisions that limited the amendment’s impact to a restriction on the federal government, expressly holding that the Fourteenth Amendment applies the Second Amendment to state and local governments to the same extent that the Second Amendment applies to the federal government.

In open violation of The Constitution, and in spite of Supreme Court decisions that confirm and reinforce the 2nd Amendment, many good people in our country continue to have their right to keep and bear arms illegally infringed by laws that are not in keeping with The Constitution.

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