Second Amendment essay left out important part of amendment

I’m responding to John Branthoover’s Herald Forum essay wherein he discusses the necessity of protecting the right to bear arms (“A license isn’t needed to speak; same goes for a gun,” The Herald, March 4).

He quotes the Second Amendment, but it is an incomplete quote. The amendment reads “ A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state … “ Everyone leaves out this crucial bit of the amendment. It was the states that retained the right to have militias and the states that would be able to arm them. This was so the states could protect against an overreaching federal government, not so individuals could do that on their own.

Further, let’s not forget the racist origins of this amendment. It was the southern slave owning states that wanted this provision, as they were not confident the federal government would help them keep their slaves in order so felt it necessary to have state militias to do so. Finally, in all the talk of the need for “originalism” as a means to interpret the Constitution, something Branthoover didn’t explicitly mention, lets consider that, at the time the Constitution was written, there were only muskets.

A truly “originialist” interpretation would be that anyone now can own as many muskets as they want, but nothing more modern than that.

Cheri Filion


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