Think Free, Live Free

An intellectual and visceral examination of all things free, with a healthy emphasis on the right of free men to own arms.

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Location: Macon, Georgia, Southeast United States

Co-founder of the Mercer Law School Second Amendment Society and fan of freedom at home and abroad. Admirer of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Ronald Reagan. Detester of political correctness and the false dogma it imposes. Not entirely as vain as this profile sounds.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Collective Rights Logic Refuted Part 1

The collective rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment says that the amendment grants the states the right to maintain militias. It denies the right of individuals to own arms. Sometimes collective rights theorists discuss the right of individuals to bear arms in connection with a state run militia. Since there aren't too many of those running around, we know what kind of "right" that creates.
Lets look at one version of the collective rights theory: the 2nd Amendment grants states the right to maintain militias, not individuals the right to own arms.
Fine, well, doesn't the Constitution talk about state militias? It does!
Why would the drafters of the Constitution write provisions into that document allowing the states the maintain militias and then later, when they come up with 10 extra special rules to go along with the Constitution, make rule #2 a redundant provision? Good question.
Why would the drafters of the Bill of Rights place in the #2 spot in that document an amendment that means nothing to individuals, surrounded by other amendments that apply to individuals?
Yes, it is true the 10th Amendment reserves rights to the states (and the people), but the 2nd Amendment refers to "the people." Why would the drafters write "the people" when they meant states?
No matter how many word games you play with "militia" and "people" and "arms," the collective rights interpretation still renders an entire amendment to the Constitution null and void. Probably not what the founders had in mind...

Think Free, Live Free


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, with a qualification. The Second Amendment does permit individuals to own arms. However, I think you may be incorrect regarding the purpose for those arms. In one essay, you laud the fact that Ohioans can now carry small arms for personal safety against criminals. The Bill of Rights does not touch on interpersonal relationships. It only deals with government to person. Thus, the Second Amendment has no applicability to such a scenario.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Christopher A. George said...

However, in Dred Scott, the court writes that if blacks had the rights of true citizens, they would be able to "keep and carry arms wherever they went." It is true that the Bill of Rights doesn't touch on individual relationships. But "permission" to carry a weapon for self defense is governed in most contries by the individual's relationship to his government, not potential attackers.

10:24 AM  

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