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Don’t Forget the First Half of the Second Amendment

The Atlantic – The amendment doesn’t prohibit gun regulations; it demands them. By Thomas P. Crocker “…[the first half of the] Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” The Supreme Court barely contemplated the text’s meaning in Heller v. District of Columbia, asking no more than whether it could be given a logical link or a purpose consistent with what it dubbed the “operative clause”—wherein the amendment, in the Court’s view, protects an individual right to possess a weapon. The first half of the Second Amendment is at times also anachronistically associated with the question of whether the right to possess a weapon is tied to service in a “well regulated Militia”—a view the Heller majority rejected. Missing from this reading, however, is any consideration of the constitutional significance of what is necessary to maintain the “security of a free State.” What does this security entail? Are Americans secure in a free state when they live in fear of the next violent act that might be perpetrated by the bearer of semiautomatic weapons? Are Americans secure in a free state when they are told that more resources should be spent on arming teachers, or training students to duck and cover and keep silent, as if in a new cold war, only this time the enemy is ourselves?…”

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