Don Rose, of the Chicago Daily Observer, believes that the Democratic Party has "surrendered" its forcible citizen disarmament agenda (popularly, but inaccurately, referred to as "gun control"). I disagree, despite--as he points out--the fact that the 2004 party platform promised to " . . . protect Americans’ Second Amendment right to own firearms . . . ." Claiming "support" for the Second Amendment while simultaneously advocating all manner of infringements on that which shall not be infringed is obviously not a new trick.
That's not what I intend to discuss today, though. Nor do I plan to address his . . . interesting version of history . . .
Those 27 words—the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—probably caused more violent argument and political polarization through the years than any sentence since the Emancipation Proclamation.. . . in which the Second Amendment was apparently adopted after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
What I do want to discuss (now that I've spent two paragraphs explaining what I don't plan to discuss) is this increasingly popular assertion:
. . . while a substantial majority of Americans, strongly encouraged by the National Rifle Association, took the other side, tossing out the initial qualifying phrase.Stubborn adherents of the now officially discredited "collective rights" interpretation of the Second Amendment criticize the majority opinion in Heller for "tossing out" the militia clause, as if the need for militias is somehow incompatible with the need to guarantee that the citizenry cannot be disarmed by the government.
[ . . . ]
One might find it odd that the founders just tossed in a meaningless phrase relating to militias—but that’s not the battle I want to revive right here.
In truth, not only are the two needs compatible, they're inextricably linked. Freedom's last line of defense is an effective militia, and for the people to form such a militia, they must have effective fighting arms.
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."I can find much to criticize in Heller, but one thing I will not claim is that the decision "tossed out" the militia clause of the Second Amendment.
— George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on
Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788