To the editor: In some 229 years, neither law professors, academic scholars, teachers, students or congressional legislators after much debate have been able to satisfactorily explain or demonstrate the framers intended purpose of the Constitution's Second Amendment. For over 10 years I have taken up that challenge and this should finalize it. Other versions available in any public washroom wall.
I will relate further by demonstration, the intent of the framers, my understanding using the associated wording to explain. The Second Amendment states, “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.”
Merriam Webster: “Militia, a body of citizens organized for military service; a whole body of able-bodied citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service.”
If, as some may argue, the Second Amendment’s “militia” meaning is that every person has a right to keep and bear arms, the only way to describe one's right as a private individual is not as a “militia” but as a “person” (the individual personality of a human being: self).
The Article of Confederation lists 11 references to “person(s).” The Constitution lists “person” or “persons” 49 times to explicitly describe, clarify and mandate a constitutional legal standing as to a “person's” (his or her's) constitutional duty and rights, what he or she can do or not do.
Whereas, in the Second Amendment any reference to “person” is not to be found. Was there a reason? Which leaves the obvious question, why did the framers use the noun “person(s)” as liberally as they did throughout the Constitution 49 times and not apply this understanding to explicitly convey the same legal standard in defining an individual “person's” right to bear arms as a person?
In the entire U.S. Constitution “militia” is mentioned five times. In these references there is no mention of “person” or “persons.” One reference to “people” in the Second Amendment. People, meaning not a person but persons in describing militia.
Now comes the word “shall” mentioned in the Constitution 100 times. Merriam Webster: SHALL; ought to, must ... will have to; MUST; will be able to; used in laws; regulates or directives to express what is inevitable or seems likely to happen in the near future.
And interestingly, the word “shall” appears in the Second Amendment. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and shall not be infringed.”
“[S]hall not be infringed.” Adding another word “infringed” to clarify any misunderstanding as to the intent of the Second Amendment. Merriam Webster: Infringe. To encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another; defeat, frustrate, encroach.
The condition “infringe” has put a stop as to what your thoughts are regarding the Second Amendment, as you shall not infringe or encroach your beliefs as to what is evident as to the subject “Militia.”
Finally, clarifying “... the right of the people to keep and bear arms …"
Merriam Webster: People. 1. Human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by common interest. 2. human beings, persons.
You see, words do have meaning and consequences; take for instance, Merriam Webster: WALK ... 3a. “to pursue a course of action or way of life: conduct one self: BEHAVE, b: to be or act in association.”
In closing, I am not against guns, everybody has them. I’m against using the Second Amendment illogically as a crutch. If it makes those feel better, so be it. Just use it with a wink.
William Heino, Sr.
Bourbonnais, Ill., Feb. 10