Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

On Monday, October 4, a New York Times article on the subject of state laws regarding carrying handguns in bars contained the following sentence:

The new measures in Tennessee and the three other states come after two landmark Supreme Court rulings that citizens have an individual right – not just in connection with a well-regulated militia – to keep a loaded handgun for home defense.

The two decisions, Heller and McDonald, recite the legal history of the Second Amendment language, which states: “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.” The author of the NY Times article, Malcolm Gay, seems to imply the right should only attach for members of an organized militia, which is untrue. The citizens of the United States are the militia. This was so when the Constitution was written, and the Court cited and acknowledged that history in their decisions. The Court’s correct interpretation of the intent of the Amendment helped build the foundation for both rulings.

The view of the opponents, that the Second Amendment gives the National Guard members the right to be armed, is strange. There is no document that preserves the rights of citizens, such as Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights or Bill of Right, that seeks to ensure the right to bear arms for those in uniformed military service. It is unnecessary for the sovereign to guarantee that those enlisted, and who can be called into war in the defense of the sovereign, will be entitled to bear arms. No country has failed to arm their own soldiers for lack of a constitutional provision assuring the right.

1 Comment to “The New York Times and the Second Amendment”

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