16 December 2007

NY Times Columnist Parses 2A; Reynolds Weighs In; English Language Expert Is Final Arbiter For Me

Glenn Reynods' Instapundit comments on the New York Times column today that attempts once more to parse the Second Amendment. Guest columnist Adam Freedman tries to make the case that regardless of comma placement, the 2A protects miliatias, and not individuals.

Mr. Reynolds has the following observation: "It's short of the conclusion because he misses a key point: the Framers considered an armed populace important, but didn't trust the government -- at either the state or federal levels -- to arm the people. Since the armed populace (the "militia" was said to consist of "the body of the people") was essential as a check on government power, the government couldn't be allowed to disarm it by neglect. Thus, the Second Amendment may be "about protecting militias," but it does so by keeping the populace armed. In fact, Brannon Denning and I expanded on this point at more length in this article from the William and Mary Bill of Rights Law Journal a few years ago. Click "read more" for an excerpt."

Personally, beyond my own beliefs, understanding of law and knowledge of the historical writings of the Framers, I also put my stock in this grammatical analysis of the Second Amendment. It was conducted a number of years ago as part of a correspondence with a highly regarded publisher, retired journalism professor and expert on English language useage in the Los Angeles schools system. He didn't know he was being asked to parse and review the meaning of a piece of the Bill of Rights until later in the dialogue. Read the story yourself and make up your own mind. It was first published in Gun Week newspaper in 1991.

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