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Thread: Why is the Second Amendment worded that way?

  1. #1
    Regular Member hadji's Avatar
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    Why is the Second Amendment worded that way?

    Something I have been pondering for a while, and decided to do some research on the topic.
    I thought that I would share my current understanding:

    "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." United States Constitution, Amendment 2.

    The wording of the Second Amendment, to my ears, is unusual in its form.
    To understand the intent of the Second Amendment, it is profitable to follow its formation from the beginning.

    One way to do that is to examine the proposed wording of the Second Amendment from the individual states, before the Second Amendment was adopted.

    From Massachusetts Minority, February 6, 1788
    "That the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience: or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms". Massachusetts Convention, pp. 86-87(see below: CBR, pg 181)

    From New Hampshire, June 21, 1788
    Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion. State Ratifications, Record Group 11, General Records of the United States Government, Nation Archives. (see below: CBR, pg 181)

    From New York, July 26, 1788
    That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, including the body of the People capable of bearing Arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free State. State Ratifications, RG 11, DNA. (see below: CBR, pg 181)

    From North Carolina, August 1, 1788
    That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated militia composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state. State Ratifications, RG 11, DNA. (see below: CBR, pg 182)

    Taking into consideration the proposals from the various states, the wording, as first proposed by Madison in the House, on June 8, 1789, was:
    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person." Congressional Register, June 8, 1789, vol. 1, p. 427
    This version was also reported contemporaneously by the Daily Advertiser, June 12, 1789, p. 2, col. 1. and by the New York Daily Gazette, June 13, 1789, p. 574, col. 3.(see below: CBR, pg 169)

    During subsequent discussions, a motion was made by Burke, in the House, on August 17, 1789. Mr. Burke proposed to add to the above clause, an amendment to the following effect:
    "A standing army of regular troops in time of peace, is dangerous to public liberty, and such shall not be raised or kept up in time of peace but from necessity, and for the security of the people, nor then without the consent of two-thirds of the members present of both houses, and in all cases the military shall be subordinate to the civil authority."
    Congressional Register, August 17, 1789, vol. 2, p. 222. (see below: CBR, pg 172)

    This motion was also recorded contemporaneously in the Daily Advertiser, August 18, 1789, p. 2, col. 4 and the New York Daily Gazette, August 19, 1789, p. 802, col. 3 and the Gazette of the U.S., August 22, 1789, p. 249. col. 3. (Ibid)

    The above wording, or very similar, regarding "a standing army...is dangerous to public liberty" came up again during discussion in the Senate on September 4, 1789, again recorded contemporaneously by several sources. Several states incorporated the wording of both clauses in their constitutions.
    (CBR: All of the above quotes, as noted by double indentation, are cited in The Complete Bill of Rights, 1997, Congan)

    In the times before the establishment of the United States, various governments and kingdoms maintained standing armies. Those armies were to assist in the security of the state, but were also occasionally used to oppress the citizenry of the state. Indeed, this was part of the genesis of the Magna Carta.

    Being aware of the foregoing, the founding fathers realized
    “that the only security against the tyranny of the government lies in forcible resistance to the execution of the injustice; because the injustice will certainly be executed, unless it be forcibly resisted.”
    “Since, then, this forcible resistance to the injustice of the government is the only possible means of preserving liberty, it is indispensable to all legal liberty that this resistance should be legalized.” Lysander Spooner, An Essay on Trial by Jury, Juries Judges of the Justice of Laws, Chapter 1, Section 2, ¶ 19-20. (circa 1848)

    This right of resistance had to be recognized
    “by the constitution of the United States, as a strictly legal and constitutional right, enforced by the provision that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This constitutional security for “the right to keep and bear arms,” implies the right to use them – as much as a constitutional security for the right to buy and keep food would have implied the right to eat it. The constitution, therefore, takes it for granted that the people will judge of the conduct of the government, and that, as they have the right, they will also have the sense, to use arms, whenever the necessity of the case justifies it.” Ibid.

    “Many of these bills of rights also assert the natural right of all men to protect their property – that is, to protect it against the government. It would be unnecessary and silly indeed to assert, in a constitution of government, the natural right of individuals to protect their property against thieves and robbers.” Ibid.

    The foregoing notion was entered into the written record during the discussion of drafts and proposals on August 17, 1789, by Mr. Gerry, whose speech is quoted here in relevant part:
    "What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty." Mr. Gerry goes on to state: "Whenever government mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia to the eastward." Congressional Register, August 17, 1789, vol. 2, pp. 219-23. (see above: CBR, pg 186)

    It was well understood that the common people, who were well armed, would be a deterrent against an oppressive government. In the terms of the day, the common people, well armed, were referred to as the 'militia'.
    The militia was not the army, nor the National Guard, nor the police, nor any other branch or division of government.

    Further, “well regulated” was a common phrase, meaning, in this context, ‘in good order’ or ‘properly disciplined’ and ‘well trained’. Random House College Dictionary (1990), Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1989, The Federalist Papers, No. 29, respectively. Additionally, usage in context of contemporaneous writings carry the notion of ‘well trained’. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, December 13, 1777.

    Considering the context of the militia clause, i.e. that ‘well regulated’ refers to a group of well armed common people for the purposes of resisting the grievous oppression of government, it doesn’t make much sense to have that same group of people be under the burden of numerous laws, rules and regulations from that oppressive government.

    In the case that armed resistance was required against an oppressive government, the milita must be well armed, disciplined enough to respond to the call to arms, and trained enough to mount an effective resistance.

    Let us set these thoughts aside briefly, to examine the actions of more modern governments:

    In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

    China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated' people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century: 56 million. Now you understand why, in the words of Justice Joseph Story (appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison), "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
    The above quote, as noted by double indentation, is from: The Patriot Post, Gun Control History

    These are sobering thoughts.

    So, with the above notes as background, let's amplify the wording of the Second Amendment drastically, and taking great liberties, include the foregoing thoughts embodied in that cryptic text:

    Since governments always tend to grow in size and power, and since grievous oppression can only happen when the people are effectively disarmed, it is clear that "a well regulated” (trained) “militia," consisting of the common people who are well armed, while "being necessary to" maintain "the security of" freedom from government oppression in "a free state," it must follow that "the right of" the free "people to keep and bear arms" to resist government oppression, "shall not be infringed."
    Last edited by hadji; 08-09-2016 at 05:18 PM. Reason: Changed the form of citations to include indirect quotes.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. -Citizen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Unusual to unlettered, unread, and untrained modern ears only. Do not project your ignorance onto all of modernity. TL, DR

    Read the classics and Great Books.
    I agree with Nightmare it only unusual and totally misread by those who purpose is to destroy, disarm and control the American system and people.
    Personal Defensive Solutions professional personal firearms, edge weapons and hands on defensive training and tactics pdsolutions@hotmail.com

    Any and all spelling errors are just to give the spelling Nazis something to do

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    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    Diagramming Sentences usually resolves the true meaning.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by color of law View Post

    Diagramming Sentences usually resolves the true meaning.
    That is a lost art. Don't think it is even taught in most schools today.

    The use of proper grammar slipping too. My son once had an English paper heavily penalized for indicating that "painting" was the subject of his opening statement. Had to educate the teacher on what a gerund is.
    Better to not open your mouth and be thought the fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member fjpro2a's Avatar
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    Excellent

    Hadji,
    This is an excellent synopsis of the 2nd amendment. Kudos for all your work.
    Wish the others on this site could be a little more supportive. Don't be discouraged by their banal remarks.

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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by color of law View Post

    Diagramming Sentences usually resolves the true meaning.
    I have this diagram in a large format, poster style. It is displayed at all the Whatcom County gatherings. It makes it easier to understand and intent undeniable.


    Hadji, you did well on this paper and I thoroughly plan to disseminate a bit of that information in my own 'hood. Great work. I would recommend, if you do not have one already, "the Complete Bill of Rights (the Drafts, Debates, Sources, and Origins)", edited by Neil H Cogan..

    http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780199324200.html

    Prices range from twenty bucks to two hundred depending on purchase location. Great reference

  7. #7
    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    I think that this is the site that I have occasionally used for a refresher. My bookmark is in my PC, not this iPad.

    http://www.german-latin-english.com/basicdiagrams.htm
    I have had this site bookmarked for years, hence, my posting.

  8. #8
    Regular Member hadji's Avatar
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    removed. My response was a misunderstanding of solus' intent.
    Last edited by hadji; 08-09-2016 at 05:23 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. -Citizen

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    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    I did not notice that the URL's were to the same site. +1
    http://www.german-latin-english.com/...amendments.htm

    It's all tied to Eugene R. Moutoux.

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    Regular Member fjpro2a's Avatar
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    Whoops

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Trite, boring, uninteresting regurgitation might characterize the OP, or did you have some other meaning for banal?
    Maybe I added a "B".

  11. #11
    Regular Member fjpro2a's Avatar
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    What?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Better a personality characterized by meticulous neatness and suspicion and reserve than its antonym. Hmm, I wonder what is the antonym, the word meaning a person who exhibits cruelty, emotional outbursts, disorganization, self-confidence, (sometimes) artistic ability, generosity, rebelliousness and general carelessness?
    I repeat, WHAT?? Earth to Mars, Earth to Mars - Come in, Mars
    What is the Antonym for Nightmare? - Dream
    OK, enough already.
    Let's work together for the normalization of firearms. Also, let's work towards "Constitutional Carry" in all 50 States, or 57 if you get my drift.
    Do you believe that South Carolina and Florida do NOT have open carry? Boggles the mind.

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    The OP should not get to hung up on the older english writings (although their meanings are clear enough -- and I always have said that the document should have been written in latin !)

    Our natural right to KBA is enough....so if the 2nd amendment did not exist our RKBA would still be fine.

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    Regular Member hadji's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    The OP should not get to hung up on the older english writings (although their meanings are clear enough -- and I always have said that the document should have been written in latin !)

    Our natural right to KBA is enough....so if the 2nd amendment did not exist our RKBA would still be fine.
    It is the seeming disconnect, in my mind anyway, between the two phrases that has always bothered me.

    "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."

    I did not see quite how one followed the other.

    My English skills are just barely average; it is only one of six human languages that I have known and used.
    And I must confess, that I do not fully understand the sentence diagrams posted by the more informative members.
    Perhaps I will start another thread to ask for clarification.

    After rather extensive research, including the book that was recommended to me at the Washington State camp out near Wenatchee last year, "The Complete Bill of Rights", I was able to make sense of it all.


    I know 'nightmare' will likely not be able to resist responding with some personal, denigrating attack on the above, perhaps claiming again my ignorance.
    But frankly, I have lost all respect for him.

    On another note, after rummaging around Wikipedia the other day, I found this:

    In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion,[3] often for their own amusement.



    Namaste.
    hadji
    Last edited by hadji; 08-09-2016 at 12:17 AM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. -Citizen

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    Regular Member California Right To Carry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hadji View Post

    On another note, after rummaging around Wikipedia the other day, I found this:

    In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion,[3] often for their own amusement.
    Trolls are about all there is left here. If you want to draw all of them out from beneath their rocks then post something in support of Open Carry.

    Then put all of them on your ignore list. After that, you'll discover this site is pretty much a ghost town.

    I only came back here because your original post showed up in a Google alert I created.
    Concealed carry is of no use to me, I don't carry a purse.

    Charles Nichols – President of California Right To Carry
    http://CaliforniaRightToCarry.org

  15. #15
    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by California Right To Carry View Post
    Trolls are about all there is left here. If you want to draw all of them out from beneath their rocks then post something in support of Open Carry.

    Then put all of them on your ignore list. After that, you'll discover this site is pretty much a ghost town.

    I only came back here because your original post showed up in a Google alert I created.
    no charles, i am afraid the only trolls floating about are those that consistently insist on spewing their derogatory commentary about and towards the members of this OPEN CARRY forum.

    ipse
    "He who pays the piper calls the tunes..." (OBE as Grape called melody!!)

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

  16. #16
    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by California Right To Carry View Post
    Trolls are about all there is left here. If you want to draw all of them out from beneath their rocks then post something in support of Open Carry.

    Then put all of them on your ignore list. After that, you'll discover this site is pretty much a ghost town.

    I only came back here because your original post showed up in a Google alert I created.
    Trolls are about all that exists on 99% of forums including forums discussing Trolls.

  17. #17
    Regular Member hadji's Avatar
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    civil discourse prevailed
    Last edited by hadji; 08-09-2016 at 05:25 PM.
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    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    quote: Acknowledging Your Sources
    There are a variety of reasons for acknowledging the sources upon which you have built your own work. At right are the key reasons:

    To distinguish your own work from that of your sources.
    To receive credit for the research you’ve done on a project.
    To establish the credibility and authority of your knowledge and ideas.
    To place your own ideas in context, locating your work in the larger intellectual conversation about your topic.
    To permit your reader to pursue your topic further by reading more about it.
    To permit your reader to check on your use of source material.
    unquote
    http://vb.opencarry.org/forums/newre...8839&noquote=1

    quote: Facts, Information, and Data. Often you’ll want to use facts or information to support your own argument. If the information is found exclusively in a particular source, you must clearly acknowledge that source. For example, if you use data from a scientific experiment conducted and reported by a researcher, you must cite your source, probably a scientific journal or a website. Or if you use a piece of information discovered by another scholar in the course of his or her own research, you must cite your source. Note that facts are different from ideas: facts may not need to be cited, whereas ideas must always be cited.

    But remember: when in doubt, cite.

    (sidebar) Students who have done their college preparation at schools in other countries may have learned research and paper-writing practices different...
    For example, students from schools in East Asia may learn that copying directly from sources, without citation, is the proper way to write papers and do research. Students in France, preparing for the Baccalaureate examination, may be encouraged to memorize whole passages from secondary sources and copy them into papers and exam essays. Those cultural differences can sometimes lead to false assumptions about citation practices and expectations...

    Even more fundamental, however, is this general rule: when in doubt, cite. You’ll certainly never find yourself in trouble if you acknowledge a source when it’s not absolutely necessary; it’s always preferable to err on the side of caution and completeness. unquote https://www.princeton.edu/pr/pub/integrity/pages/cite/

    https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/

    Hadji, you were asked nicely so some of us could pursue the subject matter further...sorry you did not take the hint!

    ipse
    "He who pays the piper calls the tunes..." (OBE as Grape called melody!!)

    Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

    Remember always, do not judge someone because they sin differently than you do!

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by hadji View Post
    It is the seeming disconnect, in my mind anyway, between the two phrases that has always bothered me.

    ...

    My English skills are just barely average; it is only one of six human languages that I have known and used.
    ...

    After rather extensive research, including the book that was recommended to me at the Washington State camp out near Wenatchee last year, "The Complete Bill of Rights", I was able to make sense of it all.

    ...
    hadji,

    Thank you for your OP and for this follow up post. There are often insights to be gained by those who look at a culture through "outsider" lenses rather than being native members of the society. It is for this reason that Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" continues to be so useful. What seems obvious to some, may not be to others, and the latter's careful investigation free from the inherent cultural biases of the former, can sometimes reveal things the former have not previously considered.

    It is also highly commendable for someone to admit they do not understand something and to then put in the personal effort to increase their understanding. We should be encouraging such, rather than demeaning it.

    Don't let the snide comments bother you too much. It seems we have a few members of the forum who start every morning by drinking a big glass of pickle juice just to get themselves sour enough to go about their day. Some folks just enjoy being miserable and sharing that misery wherever they can. Some take such great pleasure in being right, they would rather run off a fellow supporter of RKBA than offer the smallest courtesy.

    But there are some really good folks here as well.

    Charles
    Last edited by utbagpiper; 08-09-2016 at 11:08 AM.

  20. #20
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Gentlemen, please.

    The extended discussion of citations, quotes, etc is off-topic for this thread.

    I do not see any deliberate intent to falsely claim a source. IMO - the OP has answered satisfactorily.
    Better to not open your mouth and be thought the fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hadji View Post
    Since governments always tend to grow in size and power, and since grievous oppression can only happen when the people are effectively disarmed, it is clear that "a well regulated” (trained) “militia," consisting of the common people who are well armed, while "being necessary to" maintain "the security of" freedom from government oppression in "a free state," it must follow that "the right of" the free "people to keep and bear arms" to resist government oppression, "shall not be infringed."
    Clearly someone has horribly wrong information and inexcusable assumptions.

    Well-regulated meant supplied. I remember reading a clip of the militia handbook (posted/linked on OCDO, I think, long ago) that outlined the requirements to serve in the militia. One such requirement was they brought their own firearms.

    That means, at the basic level- and, in my opinion, completely immune to argument- is that regardless of militia action/involvement, we (citizens) are to have the necessary supplies (firearms) to possibly serve in the militia.

  22. #22
    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Why? Because of the time period that it was written in, many people still counted Germanic ancestry and sentence structure can vary between cultures. See Wikipedia

    I, being of sound mind and body, do hereby bequeath....
    vs
    Being of sound mind and body, I do hereby bequeath....
    Last edited by Fallschirmjäger; 08-09-2016 at 01:44 PM.

  23. #23
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyb View Post
    ...Well-regulated meant supplied. ...
    It may have meant that among other things, but it certainly didn't mean that solely.

    The things I've read have it meaning "properly operating".

  24. #24
    Regular Member 1245A Defender's Avatar
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    Well,,,

    Quote Originally Posted by BB62 View Post
    It may have meant that among other things, but it certainly didn't mean that solely.

    The things I've read have it meaning "properly operating".
    some thing I have read meant,,,
    all you men folk,, bring your guns and balls and powder with you to church on every Sunday,
    then after the service, we all will all go out back and practice target shooting,
    and maybe marching and preparing for ... whatever....

    Well Regulated....
    EMNofSeattle wrote: Your idea of freedom terrifies me. So you are actually right. I am perfectly happy with what you call tyranny.....

    “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

    Stand up for your Rights,, They have no authority on their own...

    All power is inherent in the people,
    it is their right and duty to be at all times ARMED!

  25. #25
    Regular Member hadji's Avatar
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    Citations corrected

    My understanding of how to cite indirect quotes was in error.
    solus has provided me with documentation of the correct form.

    The OP has been fixed.
    I hope.
    hadji
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. -Citizen

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