Tag Archives: Second Amendment history

Second Amendment: Aristos vs Commoners

“Amendment II. 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.”

Most of the modern debate about the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution centers on the need for a “well regulated militia.” It was needed then, it isn’t needed now, and so private guns aren’t needed, either, etc.

But the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” was always the most revolutionary aspect and remains so. It was revolutionary because prior to it, in most countries, only the elite, the aristocrats, had the right to keep and bear (or carry) arms. The men among them wore swords and, sometimes, pistols.

Ordinary people, the commoners, had no such right and though some of them certainly carried arms, they concealed them rather than bearing them because it was illegal for them to keep them let alone to bear them. That was true in mother England and in most countries of Europe and remained so long after the second amendment became law in the U.S.

Modern law has hemmed in the right, the “shall not be infringed,” in many ways. Always imposed by the elite, the modern aristos who tend to be politicians and their lobbyist-cronies. In the name of the common good, ironically.

And so the commoners, as individuals and in groups such as the NRA and the Gun Owners of America continually fight with publicity and lawsuits to beat them back. So far the commoners are winning, via concealed carry laws and, increasingly, open-carry. The latter being more in keeping with the amendment’s wording.