A factual, second amendment question

Are there any quotes at all, from a signer of the U.S.Constitution or Founding Father, that would indicate that they believed that the 2nd Amendment only applied to Government sponsored “militias”, and not to an individuals Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
The reason I ask is because of all the quotations from the Founding Fathers and Signers of the Constition I have seen, they all indicate that the 2nd Amendment was about INDIVIDUALS having the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, not the government.

I’ve never seen such, although gun control advocates commonly infer that from the first clause of the single sentence that is the whole of the 2nd Amendment.

The concluding clause is, IMHO, unambiguous and an opinion by a signer favoring the restriction of arms to a regulated militia view would at best be an adjunct argument for the gun control advocate, as it would not be part of the Constitution and its Amendments.

Bang bang, shoot shoot!

Correct, “militia” = every able-bodied citizen, “well regulated” = capable. The use of the term militia for National Guard or equivalent official body is more recent. Many mistakenly assume that “well regulated” means “carefully controlled,” not realizing its meaning in military usage at the time.

Can’t prove a negative, but I think it’s a fair bet that the answer to your question is no.

All the other Amendments are about the rights of individuals, and there protection from government. How anyone can construe that just this one is about a right of government and its protection from people is beond me.
Have no doupt that those who prefer government controll of people rather than the people controlling the government, are not just after the second amendment. They are just starting here because they feel that this is the easiest target, and as long as the population is armed the government cannot realy controll the people.

Vote Libritarian www.lb.org

Sorry that link should be:


I don’t know what you will for sure, but a good place to look for comments on the constitution by the people who wrote it is in the Federalist Papers.

Y’know this is a silly argument. In the first place, the “founding fathers” were not of one mind about very much. The Constitution was their best effort (and a damned good one it was) to come up with a governmental framework that they could get approved and promulgated by the Convention.

In the second place, it matters little what you and I think the “founding fathers” said or wrote. What matters is the present state of Supreme Court decisions regading the matter. And we have to trust the members of the Court to have done their homework as to the intent behind the words of the Constitution.

You’re absolutely right. Too bad the present state of the SC is never having addressed it (And if you say US v Miller is their statement on the “states’ rights” side, that’s just proof that you haven’t read the decision). Hopefully it will get the full treatment soon.

The 16th, 18th, and 22nd amendments all limit individual rights or expand government power.

Sorry dqa what I ment to say was, all the other amendments in the bill of rights are about… I was aware of those you cited but I did not clarify myself very well.

Guys, a moderator is going to show up in a second. If this is a debate, take it to GD. He asked a factual question.

For what it matters to the OP - a recent court rulling by (IIRC) the 5th court of appeals found that the 2nd amendment was an individual right not a government right. - kitten steps.

Ugh, not this again. If you can’t prove a negative, then how can you prove that you can’t prove a negative?

In Federalist number 46, James Madison, advocating a federal army, wrote:

If he is not talking about the general population as a “militia”, then his expository skills sorely need work.

Didnt they find a early draft of the bill of rights that didnt even have a second amendment or anything of the type ?

Also the founding fathers feared a professional army and the military culture that they fought against in the personiifcation of the brit army

So it wasnt they were really pro guns they were anti army,

That strange wording evokes the image of some sort of excavation. This isn’t ancient history. Here is the official record from the Bill of Rights debate on 8 June 1789. The eventual second amendment is recognizable from this:

There were also a couple of proposals that didn’t make it in.

True. Although, to get the “facts” we would have to do some research and Barking Spider could do that for himself as easily as we can.

In addition, as I said before, the “founding fathers” were a diverse group who didn’t speak with one mind. Several members of the Convention refused to sign the final document. Hell, Patrick Henry was so opposed to the whole idea of a Convention that he refused his appointment as a delegate.

The “founding fathers” expressed a lot of different opinions about a lot of topics and I suspect, no I’ll give odds, that you could find a bunch of quotations on any side of any issue you choose to raise. For example, Thomas Jefferson all by himself had multiple opinions about slavery on all sides of the question. So the answers that the OP would get would reflect the bias of the researcher and not the mythical idea of a position by the “founding fathers” as a whole.

Elbridge Gerry (of gerrymander fame) ,during debate on the second amendment, was quoted as saying that the intent was to prevent standing armies which were in his words, “the bane of liberty.”


From http://www.guncite.com/journals/haladopt.html

Writing in 1787, Jefferson stressed the inexorable connection between the right to have and use arms and the right to revolution as follows:

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion … And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms … The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Thanks everyone!