The Meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment

Eric Zuesse

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was written into the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in 1787 as the replacement-Constitution for this country, replacing the prior Articles of Confederation, which had bound the United States together as the nation’s first Constitution. We Americans live under America’s second Constitution, but the terms-of-reference in it are the same as for the document it replaced — the Articles of Confederation.

The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is very brief, and states, in its entirety: “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 Articles of Confederation had said: “… every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.”

However, John Adams and others were disturbed to note that the “arms” in those “public stores” were insufficient; and, so, the drafters of the Constitution decided to allow the active members of each of any given state’s “well-regulated and disciplined militia” to use in his public official capacity within the militia, his own (privately held) “arms.” For example, Adams wrote to his wife, on 26 August 1777, “The militia are turning out with great alacrity both in Maryland and Pennsylvania. They are distressed for want of arms. Many have none, we shall rake and scrape enough to do Howe’s business, by favor of the Heaven.” What this meant regarding any possible foreign invaders who might want to invade and conquer the new nation, was dire for this new nation.

As the excellent Wikipedia article on this matter states: “A major concern of the various delegates during the constitutional debates over the Constitution and the Second Amendment to the Constitution revolved around the issue of transferring militia power held by the States (under the existing Articles of Confederation) to Federal control.”

The Second Amendment exists within that context — transferring, from purely local state-government control, to additional national U.S. government control, the existing, purely state-government “well-regulated and disciplined militia,” and doing it in such a way as to conscript, for this purpose, not only (as the Militia Act of 1792 was to express this matter formally) “each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted)” but also those persons’ privately owned weaponry, or “arms.” The government was desperate for adequate armament, in order to be able to defend itself against any foreign invader, such as soon occurred in the War of 1812 when Britain invaded in order to re-subjugate the American people. And, the 2nd Amendment was therefore felt to be necessary, for those times.

Only government-controlled militias are referred to in the Second Amendment. This was a matter of protecting the government, not of providing self-appointed people the means with which to overthrow it. It was a matter of protecting democracy. Never were the militias private armies. Government control over them was always presumed when the term “militia” was being used in any legal sense. The NRA, Antonin Scalia, and others, have lied to deceive the American public to the contrary, but they all know the truth, because it’s right there, in the documents themselves, and stated very clearly.

My article “Las Vegas Massacre Proves 2nd Amendment Must Be Abolished” explains how it came to be that the liars have succeeded in changing the meaning of the Second Amendment so radically that, now, the “2nd Amendment Must Be Abolished.” What that sniper did in Las Vegas, on 1 October 2017, has transformed the American debate about “guns,” in such a fundamental way, so that, either the 2nd Amendment is to be repealed, “or else any entertainment-event or other event that attracts a mass of people, is an open invitation to anyone who wants to commit mass-murder — that the only access the law (the government) has in order to deal with such attacks is after-the-fact, once all of those murders and injuries have already been perpetrated. Nothing can be done in advance, so as to prevent any such attack.” Is a continuance of this situation tolerable to the American people? Or, instead, should the gun-question here now become: When is the 2nd Amendment to be repealed — how soon can it be done?

After that question becomes answered, the American people can begin to debate publicly the entire problem of identifying whom the deceivers had been, who had brought this nation to such a desperate situation, as this certainly now is. It can be a truth-and-reconciliation commission approach, or else a truth-and-punishment approach, but it will have to be done, in either case, so that this nation can move forward to a better future, no longer one that’s based on such horrendous lies, as have been perpetrated in this matter.

There can be no question, as to whether internationally the U.S. is extraordinary, or perhaps even unique, in its sufferance of such powerfully effective deceit, because the U.S. stands alone internationally, in its being in this situation. That, too, is proven clearly by the relevant evidence, which shows that the U.S. stands alone at the top among all nations in “Guns per 100 people”, and, also (except for the sole outlier, Mexico, which has both a relatively low gun-ownership and the world’s absolute highest “gun deaths per 100k people”) has the world’s highest “Gun deaths per 100k people” (after the number-one and total outlier, Mexico).

Clearly, America’s liars, in this case, have loads of innocent blood on their hands. The question now is whether the victims, both of the lies, and of the resulting multitude of injuries and deaths, will strike back, by rejecting the lies, and the liars. The only way to start that process, is by passing a new (and remarkably brief) U.S. Constitutional Amendment (of which we’ve now got 27): “The 2nd Amendment is hereby repealed.” That would be the start, of a very constructive process: restoring American democracy.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in 2008, poisoned the 2nd Amendment; and, as a consequence, the archaic and perennially contentious 2nd Amendment must now be annulled, so as to cleanse the U.S. Constitution of that long-archaic and counter-productive, but now outright toxic, part.

It was already gangrenous.

Now it must be removed entirely.

PS: Within just the first day of this having been published on October 5th, I received so many irrelevant objections to it in reader-comments, that there could be no doubt that the American public have been so effectively brainwashed by the NRA, Scalia, and others, so that anyone further who would think of posting a reader-comment here in response to the present article, should first click onto the link here (the last link in this article) at the words “in 2008” and then think through, very carefully, point-by-point, the argument there (which is an important precursor to this article), that’s presented against the key U.S. Supreme Court decision on guns (which was that one in 2008), which made private gun-ownership a U.S. Constitutional right, for the very first time, and did it by lying about the Constitution, as I there document. The name of that U.S. Supreme Court decision is stated there, and it links directly to that key decision, so that any reader of my article about it, can readily compare my statement about that decision, versus the actual text of the decision, and decide, for oneself, whether it is Antonin Scalia (who wrote that decision) or I (in my article about it), that is telling the truth about what the 2nd Amendment was understood to mean in its own era. Either Scalia was lying about the 2nd Amendment, or else I am. I am willing to respond here to further reader-comments if they address that U.S.  Constitutional issue, but I won’t waste further time replying to bot-minded reader-comments. I’ve had enough of that, by now.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.