2nd Amendment of
the U.S. Constitution

the conveniently 'forgotten'
lead-in phrase

('... well-regulated ...')

We're talking serious
stuff here.

(2011 Nov blog post)

! Note !
A few more 'points' ... and links ...
and images may be added, if this page is re-visited.

Home > Blog menu >

This Page on the Second Amendment and its seldom-mentioned qualifier


The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the shortest of the 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Only Amendments 3 and 10 approach the 2nd Amendment in brevity.

So it is astounding to me that we never EVER hear the introductory words of the 2nd Amendment uttered when ANYONE quotes the 2nd Amendment.

The 2nd Amendment is one sentence :

    "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."

Keep in mind that the U.S. had fought for liberation from rule by the English monarchy, and the 'founding fathers' knew full well that the English might have 'another go'.

And, sure enough, they did (after U.S. attacks on Canada) --- in the War of 1812.

And the British almost re-took the 'colonies'. The fledgling U.S.A. lost the battles in several attempted U.S. invasions of Canadian territory --- against English troops and their Indian allies --- during the first two-thirds or so of that war. Furthermore, Washington D.C. was burned, the President and his wife were lucky to escape, and things were looking very bleak for the U.S.

Finally, the U.S. won one or two battles and the English became more concerned with developments (wars) in Europe. This lead to a treaty that brought an end to that attempt at 're-incorporation'.

THAT CLAUSE   "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State"

It is clear, from the lead-in clause of the 2nd Amendment, that the founding fathers did not have in mind the bearing of arms for purposes other than having a WELL-REGULATED MILITIA --- for the security of a 'free' (that is, freedom imbued) new government.

    However, the founding fathers must have quickly realized that 'settlers' pushing westward would need to 'bear arms' to protect against retaliating Indians.

The militias of the times did not carry rapid-fire automatic weapons, high-caliber machine guns, grenade launchers --- much less nuclear weapons and laser weapons and taser weapons (which, by the way, have killed people, usually inadvertently).

No doubt the founding fathers had in mind the carrying of weapons by organized groups of militia, organized by the State governments or the federal government. And they envisioned those militias carrying rifles, used in armed conflicts by 'states' --- NOT carrying concealed weapons such as rapid-fire, large-clip handguns and handguns with silencers.

    In fact, a 'strict constitutionalist' interpretation of the 2nd Amendment would conclude that, if you want to carry a gun, you should be a member of a well-regulated militia, like the National Guard or the U.S. Army.

It is quite clear from the wording 'WELL-REGULATED MILITIA' and 'necessary to the security of a free State' that the founding fathers :

  • did NOT have in mind concealed weapons (like hand-guns) being carried by people as they shopped and attended public gatherings intended for education and entertainment. (Rather, the founding fathers had in mind rifles --- in defense of the country.)

  • did NOT have in mind automatic (rapid-fire, high-capacity) weapons allowed to be carried by any citizen to any place of business or school or public gathering. (The founding fathers certainly would not condone an automatic weapon carried into a McDonald's food business or carried into an entertainment venue or carried into a public school --- which, if you have been out of touch, is where many massacres have occurred in the 2000-2018 time frame.)

  • did NOT have in mind automatic (rapid-fire, high-capacity) weapons allowed to be freely sold to criminals (like drug dealers) in adjacent countries (like Mexico) --- threatening 'the security of a free State'. (This is common practice today, circa 2011, yet, certainly, the careful wording of the 2nd Amendment by the founding fathers indicates that they would be shocked at what is being allowed today 'in the interest of free enterprise'.)

  • did NOT have in mind automatic (rapid-fire, high-capacity) weapons allowed to be freely sold to criminals (like repeated wife abusers and criminals repeatedly involved in armed-robberies, abductions, burglaries, larcenies, and various arms violations) in THIS country. (Certainly, the careful wording of the 2nd Amendment by the founding fathers indicates that they would not consider such individuals a 'well-regulated militia'.)

  • More examples of what the founding fathers, no doubt, according to the careful wording of the 2nd Amendment, did NOT intend to be facilitated may be added here. (Hopefully, we will not be adding nuclear or laser weapon examples here soon.)


I can understand why people want to have totally free access to weapons. There are multiple reasons.

  • The public cannot depend on the local police to ALWAYS, in all situations, protect them in their own homes --- or in their own cars. Or in highway rest areas, on subways, at bank ATM's, etc.

  • There are many, on both the right and the left, who do not trust the various government policing agencies --- Army, National Guard, state police, local police, FBI, secret service, etc. --- to always act in the manner of consistently trustworthy 'philosopher kings'. And who is to blame them. There are certainly plenty of instances in the history of this nation in which various members of those agencies have essentially ignored the protections that the founding fathers tried to provide via the Constitution. There are certainly plenty of instances in the history of this nation in which various members of those agencies demonstrated bad judgment to the point of killing or maiming people who should not have received such treatment.

  • There is even a good argument for having armed citizens as a backup to the federal armed services --- in case of an invasion or armed incursions --- for example, from drug lords in Mexico if they overtly take over the Mexican government (which certainly seems possible in the next decade --- by 2025).

So it is a tricky thing to come up with U.S. gun laws that will significantly reduce public-place and private-place massacres and yet preserve the vision of the founding fathers (understanding that they could not have envisioned the weapons available today --- but trying to put oneself in their shoes).

Certainly there must be some people of the caliber of the founding fathers in this nation today, and every day.

Certainly there are people in this country who could take a proposed or past law like the Brady handgun law and craft a law whose enforcement would come close to what the founding fathers would have come up with in today's environment --- something far better than the deadly, maim-friendly free-for-all that we have today.

    It is sad to think that James and Sarah Brady died knowing that their work toward the end of their lives was in vain.

    The Brady's were unable to convince Congress to close the gun show loophole. The paranoid crazies won. To them, 'gun control' is a dirty pair of words. The crazies' effort to protect their culture is destroying the once much-admired culture of the United States.

    The much-avoidable gun violence in the U.S. will continue . . . while New Zealand and Australia have reduced their gun violence to such a small level that what the U.S. calls 'bullet-proof vests', they call 'stab-proof vests', because police are more likely to be stabbed than shot. (This even applies to vests for their police dogs.)

I have seen gun statistics that say there is more than one gun in the United States for every man, woman, and child in the United States. Assuming that that means in 'private' hands (not military and police arsenals), then there are plenty of people with 10 or 20 guns. And I do not think that they should necessarily be deprived of those guns.

But, if those gun owners are

  • selling guns outside our borders, esp. into a (neighboring) country with obvious, horrific crime problems (rampant beheadings in Mexico and Middle East, etc.)

  • selling guns to repeat offenders who, case after case shows, are quite likely to graduate from larcenies and burglaries (or persistent spouse abuse) into armed crimes where someone is likely to be maimed or killed

  • providing unattended guns to minors

  • demonstrating repeated anger management issues --- toward their spouses, their children, their immediate neighbors, etc.

  • charged multiple times with crimes, esp. crimes involving lethal weapons or bodily violence

then there should be laws that provide for appropriate intervention and incarceration, while honoring the 'freedom-preserving' spirit of the entire Constitution.

If I have time someday to study some proposed laws while devoting thought to balancing weapons freedoms with weapons safeguards, then I hope to list, here, some proposed items for inclusion in such types of laws.

Dealing with the several 'gun owner' points listed above would be a grand start.

It may be difficult to prevent another Virginia Tech or Columbine, but certainly we should be doing some things to make massacres much less likely (as Australia and New Zealand have done, see links above) --- and at least make it punishable to provide weapons to drug dealers in Mexico --- and make the punishment far from a slap on the wrist (make it prison time).

Bottom of this page on blog topic:
2nd Amendment of U.S. Constitution --- the conveniently 'forgotten' lead-in phrase.

To return to a previously visited web page location, click on the Back button of your web browser, a sufficient number of times. OR, use the History-list option of your web browser.
OR, ...

< Go to Top of Page, above. >

Or you can scroll up, to the top of this page.

Page was posted 2011 Nov 08.

Page was changed 2013 May 03. (Re-formatted slightly.)

Page was changed 2018 Oct 27. (Added css and javascript to try to handle text-size for smartphones, esp. in portrait orientation.)

I will not patronize any store that allows customers
to enter with lethal weapons. And any family with children
would be wise to not patronize such establishments.