Yesterday afternoon, Edward McClelland, the Ward Room blogger for NBC Chicago, had a post entitled “Let’s Follow the Entire Second Amendment.” The post was so absurd, I really don’t know where to begin.
McClelland starts by attacking what he calls Second Amendment Absolutists.
Frequently, I hear gun owners describe themselves as “Second Amendment Absolutists.” By this, they mean they should be able to own any gun they want — a potato gun, a .22-caliber pistol, an elephant gun, a bazooka — and take it anywhere they want, hidden inside their pants. As justification, they point to a clause in the Second Amendment, declaring “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
McClelland says “Second Amendment Absolutists” cited this language in the McDonald case and in the suits against the State of Illinois concerning concealed carry. He accuses gun rights supporters of ignoring the complete language of the Second Amendment by leaving out the prefatory clause, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state”, regularly. He then goes on to state his understanding (or misunderstanding) of the Second Amendment.
As I read it, the amendment guarantees Americans the right to keep and bear arms so they can form a militia. Yet very few Second Amendment Absolutists belong to militias, or even look as though they’re in shape for combat.
He then takes this a step further and makes a proposal to Gov. Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan regarding carry laws in the State of Illinois.
if the Second Amendment Absolutists are going to hold you to the second half of the Second Amendment, hold them to the first half: tell them they can carry any gun they want, anywhere they want, as long as they join the state’s militia, the Illinois National Guard. It would require one weekend a month of training, plus the possibility of active duty if the United States becomes involved in a war.
McClelland undoubtedly thinks he is being smart. Or a smart ass. He even calls it a win-win for the State of Illinois as the “National Guard could solve both its manpower shortage and its firepower shortage. The new recruits would all bring their own guns. “
Of course, he ignores 10 USC § 311 which defines the militia – both organized and unorganized.
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
It also ignores the holding of the majority in District of Columbia v. Heller which found that the Second Amendment was an individual right and that the prefatory clause neither limited nor expanded the right in the operative clause.
1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a
firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for
traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but
does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative
clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it
connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
Fortunately, these is not one comment to the entire post that agrees with McClelland’s so-called interpretation of the Second Amendment. Yet, I can imagine some people who do read it will be shaking their heads in agreement and that is sad.