The murder rampage in Aurora, Colorado, has caused some to conclude that had more people in the movie theater been armed, perhaps 40 people would have been killed, and that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “applies to ONLY those people who are in the militias.”

I cannot follow the convoluted illogic which concludes that more armed people would have resulted in more deaths. If the same crime had been attempted in Arizona, where law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry weapons concealed or unconcealed, it is likely that one or more armed citizens would have shot the perpetrator before anywhere near 12 people had been killed. Prohibiting the carrying of arms in a location only ensures that someone with a murderous intent will have a risk-free environment in which to commit the crime.

The Second Amendment reads, “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 first clause referencing the militia is a subordinate clause. The second clause referencing the people is the main clause. It does NOT state “the right of militia members to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” When the U.S. Constitution references the people, it means the people, not the states or the militia. The inference that Second Amendment rights are limited to militia members is a non sequitur, it does not follow. The first clause refers to the necessity of the people to have the right to keep and bear arms in order that they, the people, could form militias when necessary for their security. The founding fathers were distrustful of standing armies, especially those under the authority of the federal government. It’s true, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison discoursed on this in “The Federalist Papers.” The Second Amendment, and the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, are rights of the people, are not dependent upon any conditions, inferred or otherwise, and were required by the representatives of the citizens of the 13 newly independent states before they would ratify the Constitution.

The Second Amendment does not grant the right to keep and bear arms; it validates the right which had existed for centuries prior in English Common Law, and was enunciated in the English Bill of Rights of 1688. The right has always been recognized as an individual right, applicable to individual citizens.

Despite the unwarranted assertion that membership in a militia is required to keep and bear arms, Title 10, Section 311, of the United States Code states, “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodies males 17 years of age and under 45 years of age.” In any event, as George Mason wrote at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, “Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.” Tench Coxe wrote, “The militia, are in fact the effective part of the people at large.” Patrick Henry stated “The great object is that every man be armed ... Everyone who is able may have a gun.” Thomas Jefferson wrote “No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” So, the founding fathers have us all covered: We all have the individual right to keep and bear arms, and in addition, we are all members of the Militia.

No misunderstanding of the Second Amendment was exhibited until the 20th Century, when people who were too timid or craven to defend their lives and liberties themselves, and who would rather hire someone else to do it for them, felt that since they did now want a firearm, no one else should have one.

Arthur C. Peterson

Mesa

(13) comments

Bingo6

Poor, Leon, this guy probably has his basement lined in tin foil to thwart the evil aliens and of course big brother from taking him away to one of those FEMA concentration camps.

Listen, America, like all nations will at some time be vulnerable to war and possible invasion, history of the world's nations, pretty much guarantees it, but the idea that under a so-called "Red Dawn" scenario that a armed citiizenry will defeat an invading army with their limited arms and limited supplies of ammunition is laughable.

The fact is history shows that unless your own armed forces can defeat an invading nation, then the local citizens will snder in mass to their fate, exchanging one ruling elite for another. Poor

mwd2525

to say that allowing everyone to own and carry firearms would have stopped the carnage at the movie theater is making the same argument as those who say banning ownership of firearms would have stopped it. It misses the point,it is only speculation as to what would or would not have happened.There are mass shootings in states that have conceal carry laws now. It hasnt stopped any of the mass shootings,why? Because the people doing them are nuts.......hello......they arent caring or thinking of the consequences. The fact is we are allowed to own firearms,and until the government,police,etc is made to give up their guns then the citizens can keep theirs.

TEEBONE

You, sir are a well-educated, intelligent individual. You covered every single point germane to the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment.

And you are correct that there was no question as to the individual right to arms until the Progressives began poisoning the national mind in the early-mid Twentieth Century. And, of course, that was/is by design. The individual right to arms is anathema to the baseline of their collectivist philosophy.

I look forward to the day when America realizes with clarity the endemic enmity of the progressive ideology with American history, constitutional jurisprudence and tradition.

If it ever comes.....

Mike McClellan

Well, Art, Antonin Scalia disagrees; in fact, he says that there were restrictions on weapons very early in our country's history. He argued on Fox News that the Second Amendment is not absolute, and the "originalist" intrepretaion of the Constitution supports that view.

Centrist

Leon,

With each of your posts you prove how uniformed you are. Please consider gaining either more formal education or at least looking into the issues before you post.

Leon Ceniceros

I HAVE BEEN SEEING ALL OF THESE TV COMMERCIALS PUSHING.."TESTOSTERONE" PILLS............NOW WE KNOW WHO THEY WERE DIRECTED AT....AND IT WASN'T JUST THE ..."FOLLICALLY CHALLENGED" BUT THE....."INTESTINALLY CHALLENGED" TOO (LIBERALS, PROGRESSIVES, SOCIALISTS AND LET'S NOT FORGET.....DEMOCRATS TOO).

ALL IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN TO STOP THE CARNAGE IN THE MOVIE THEATER THAT SAD NIGHT WAS ONE............ARMED CITIZEN (MALE, FEMALE OR ONE OF THOSE ALPHABET-GENDERED PEOPLE...PISTOLS DON'T CARE WHO YOU HAVE SEX WITH....JUST IF YOU CAN PULL THE TRIGGER AND AIM CORRECTLY).

THE TERM "MILITIA" MEANT EVERY ABLE-BODIED AMERICAN INDIVIDUAL (MALE AND IF THE NEED AROSE, WOMEN TOO) WHEN OUR FOUNDING FATHERS VOTED TO ACCEPT THE CONSTITUTION.....EVERY ABLE-BODIED "INDIVIDUAL".

UNLESS THE AURORA POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE FBI ARE KEEPING INFORMATION FROM THE PUBLIC....NO "AUTOMATIC" FIRING WEAPONS WERE INVOLVED, ONLY "SEMI-AUTOMATIC" (THANK GAWD FOR THAT).

THERE IS A GREAT MOVIE OUT THERE IN VIDEO-LAND....CALLED...."RED DAWN".........SOME OF OUR MORE MARXIST-LENINIST COMMENTERS MIGHT WANT TO......"CHECK IT OUT"....AS WE USED TO SAY IN THE ARMY....WAY BACK WHEN ...BASIC TRAINING WAS BASIC TRAINING INSTEAD OF ...."BASIC CODDLING"....IN OUR .............POLITICALLY-CORRECT WORLD.

Centrist

YPAFI,

You really should read my post more carefully before responding. You see, my statement about automatic weapons was not tied to the specific weapon the shooter brought into the theater. Rather, it was a rehetorical question intended to make a more general point. Go back and read the post...I'll wait. So, before you tell me I don't have a clue about what I am tlaking about you need to be more thorough. Now, another misunderstanding you have is that I somehow suggested the government becoming tyranical was no longer a threat. I very much believe it is still a valid threat. Again, go back and read what I wrote. Nowhere did I say the threat was no longer valid. Instead, I merely pointed out that one needn't arm oneself with an automatic weapon in face of that threat. And, no, it does not make sense that just because a criminal can do it we should introduce that into our every-day line of defense. A criminal can theoretically get his hands on high and heavy explosives, so should it be legal for all of us to go down to the local food store and pick up a bag of it before coimng home.

To quote a good movie, "Think men, think!"

sdjtaz

Arthur,

While I generally agree with the individual right's to own and bear arms, I feel that your letter is very misleading. Let's place some corrections to your statement:

1. Your belief that an armed citizen would have been able to stop the attack. First, the theater was dark, chaotic, and the murderer was both well armed and well protected. In order for the "armed citizen" to stop this massacre, they would have needed to identify the shooter under these conditions, known that the shooter was wearing body armor (since most shooters are trained to shoot for center mass, which may not have been effective in stopping the shooter), and would have needed to deliver a killing blow to a small and moving target. I'm sorry, but most gun owners do not have the training or experience to do all to make all of these in the very short time frame required. Instead, this is just a "Dirty Harry" fantasy that some grown men have.

2. We do not have a definitive Supreme Court ruling on the full interpretation of the meaning of the Second Amendment. So, the statements interpreting it are strictly speculation.

3. Like all amendments, the Second Amendment is limited. The right only exists insomuch that it does not interfere with the rights of others. As such, the State must balance the rights of the individual with the responsibility of protected society in general. Just to give you one example, nuclear weapons are considered armaments. As such, an unlimited view of the Second Amendment would state that individuals have the right to own them. However, since that right is not unlimited, the State then has the right to restrict access.

4. Your statements regarding who is the militia is very misleading. At the time of these statements, The United States kept a very small standing army. Instead, we relied on citizen soldiers to protect us during wars, insurrections, etc... These statements refer directly to the need to call upon these citizen soldiers at any time. However, today we have a professional standing army, where citizen soldiers are rarely called into service (unless they are part of the National Guard).

5. Your statement that the "misunderstanding" over the Second Amendment is a Twentieth Century invention is hilarious. Throughout the 1800's many towns in the West had laws restricting or barring the right to carry a gun in town. The best example comes from historic Tombstone. In 1881, Tombstone was part of the Arizona Territory (and as such, the people in Tombstone were American citizens, afforded most of the rights of citizenship, with only the right to vote in federal elections. being restricted, since it was not a state and therefore had no representation in Congress). Yet, on Oct. 21, the Town Marshall, Virgil Earp, set out to arrest the Cowboys. Since the story is well known, I won't go into detail. However, the one detail that is often glossed over is the purpose used by Virgil Earp was that the cowboys had been seen carrying weapons in town, and at the time, it was illegal to carry a firearm in Tombstone. This is only one of many examples of many examples of 1800's era towns and cities that restricted their citizen's Second Amendment rights.

chatmandu002

Logic should control the use of guns, ammunition and capacity of magazine. But logic has taken a back seat to political ideology.

Arizona Willie

Is it necessary for individuals to have high-capacity magazines and high fire-rate weapons?

To shoot rabbits, no.

To defend the country against a military ( either an invasion or our own ), yes.

All around the world see examples of oppressive government attacking it's citizens. Currently that is happening in Syria and the rebels are outgunned by the military.

If we had a rogue President who, say refused to leave office and tried to take over the country and be a dictator ( could happen ) and the military backed him --- individual citizens would be vastly outgunned if all they had was a deer rifle or shotgun to face soldiers and military grade weapons.

You might think out military wouldn't do that --- but it happens all over the world that the military either backs the dictator or the dictator is a general with the military's support.

As evidenced by the Wall St. meltdown -- our citizens can be just as corrupt as those anywhere in the world. We take a backseat to none in corruption.

There is no reason one or more of our top brass couldn't go rogue and try to take over.

YPAFI

Dale: "Since Holmes was well protected with body armer and used smoke grenades, I doubt your projections are accurate."

Right, because no one wearing body armor ever got shot and killed... (Sarcasm obviously) If you are 5 feet away from the guy and are a practiced shooter you can easily hit him in the head.

Centrist: Is the idea that ones government could become tyrannical not still an option? Do you know whats going on in several places around the world? This stuff happens every day. Will it happen here? Probably not but one way to ensure that it never does is to keep the second amendment intact, as is.

Your comment about an automatic weapon is central to the problem with gun debate, and that being: most of you people don't have a clue what you are talking about. His weapon was not automatic, it was semi-automatic. The same as a pistol. One trigger pull, one shot. Not automatic.

Maybe what you are referring to (incorrectly) by saying automatic is high capacity magazines. Is it necessary to have a 100 round drum magazine for a citizen? Probably not. But when you start to legislate away the right to have that magazine you are starting down a slippery slope of more and more legislation and ultimately to having firearms banned altogether.

If a crazy person, or a criminal gets ahold of those kinds of weapons and ammo, does it not seem to make sense that you may also want to have the same weapon in order defend yourself? Or will you bring a knife to the gunfight?

Well written Arthur, you are dead on with many of us out here that get annoyed reading stuff from people who have probably never held a gun and want to regurgitate the BS rhetoric they listen to on CNN at night.

Dale Whiting

Arthur,

When Gabby Giffords was shot, the first armed "militiaman' on sceen nearly shot one of the two men who had disarmed Laughner. Not until his 30+ round magazine was emptied did they dare try. Since Holmes was well protected with body armer and used smoke grenades, I doubt your projections are accurate. Think again, my friend.

Centrist

Arthur:

Agreed that the 2nd Amendment applies to individuals and affords the right to bear arms. But, you should remember the context in which such a right was given. At that time, the idea was that one's government could become tyranical and the people should be able to defend themselves from the government or defend their property and life from other citizens. So, while the right is afforded, it is (as all rights are) capable of and sometimes in need of being limited. For example, please explain why an automatic weapon capable of shooting hundreds of rounds is a necessary part of the right to bear arms. (That is rhetorical as it is obviously not.)

Where your letter misses the mark (see how I did that there) is with the idea that other armed citizens could have "shot this guy." Don't fool yourself. He was not only armed but also wearing a gas mask and full body armor. Any attempt to fire at him would sureluy have been met with his direct retaliation and you would loose that gun battle.

Keep it real.

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