Friday, September 21, 2007

NRA, SchmeNRA.

Today Rudy Giulliani is going to speak before the NRA, the National Rifle Association, to try once more to capitalize on the fact that he was Mayor of NYC on Sept. 11.

For those of you who don't know the NRA, they are a lobbying association devoted to defending the Second Half of The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

What's that you say, they say they are defending the Second Amendment, and they don't specify the Second Half?

Let's Review:
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.

Pretty simple, but let's look at part of it a little closer

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.

But the way they read it:

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.

I'm not a lawyer, and I hope never to be one, but I can see when part of a law is being ignored, and part is emphasized.

I guess that the most fundemental of rights, not just the rights of Americans, but of Human Beings in general, is the inalienable right to be as much of a complete dumbass as you can possibly manage.

Right here and now, I'm going to start an organization:
The National Hand Grenade Association.
The way I interpret the second half of the second amendment, arms mean any kind of arms, so nothing should come between me and my god given right to own and carry as many hand grenades as I feel like. I just don't feel safe without them. And some are less damaging than some firearms out there today. I must stay prepared. There's this squirrel in my yard who's been looking at me kinda funny. I think he's a spy. I'll show him.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Well actually, as a lawyer, it's not that that language hasn't been ignored...the problem lay with where the comma is.

The debate is, had the framers intended that only well-armed militias have arms, they wouldn't have needed to add the language following the comma.

What everyone has scrutinized is the fact that you have two clauses separated by a comma, the first being subordinate to the second. The "A well regulated militia" clause is not an independent clause and cannot survive on its own as a sentence. However, "the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed" is a complete sentence. You can strike out the subordinate clause and still have the complete purpose of the sentence.

You have to imagine that the framers were, primarily, learned men, many of whom were lawyers, and knew what they were doing, even if we now have no idea. Punctuation can change and even absolutely convey the meaning a sentence was intended to convey. It's one of the first principles of statutory interpretation that you're taught in law school.

So, as a lawyer, reading this language, it would be apparent to me that perhaps the purpose was to maintain well-regulated militias, but the means by which to get there was the right for the populace to bear arms.

Certainly, I'm not going to solve this debate for all time -- if I could, I sure as hell wouldn't be in a job that would permit me to blomment at 3:30 in the afternoon. But that has always been my interpretation of the second amendment.