A letter yesterday, “Guns and militias,” claimed Second Amendment rights are limited to militia service. The author would benefit from reading the majority opinion of the Supreme Court’s recent Heller decision, which is filled with court precedents, the writings of the founders, their contemporaries and their sources; as well as the Heller dissent, which has few historical citations and generally engages in wishful thinking.
Consider this: “A well-educated workforce being necessary to the prosperity of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.” Would this limit book ownership only to those who are employed or only to the context of employment? Clearly not. As Justice Scalia put it in the Heller decision, the militia clause announces the purpose of the amendment without limiting the scope of the right.
I’ve been mulling over the “well-educated workforce” argument for a while now. I wanted something on a non-controversial topic that I could drop into the second amendment that would have the same structure, and even nearly the same cadence as the original, to make it clear the militia clause in no way limits the right being protected.
My original version of the argument used “well-educated populace” rather than “workforce” but I realized that was vulnerable to the critique that it wasn’t a direct parallel of the second amendment because the populace is everyone and a militia isn’t (at least in the minds gun controllers). Workforce, on the other hand, closely parallels the structure of the second amendment.
To be honest I’m a little disappointed that I even needed to deploy this argument. In a post-Heller world I was hoping the militia clause would be put to bed. Apparently that was wishful thinking.